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MAP - publié le Lundi 20 Juin à 13:52

UNESCO Calls on Governments, Private Sector and International Community to Guarantee Access of Refugee Children to Education

Paris - UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, called on governments, civil society, the private sector and the international community to take every measure to mobilize resources and find smart solutions to guarantee the access of refugee children and youth to education.

In a message on the World Refugee Day (June 20), Bokova said that this is a moral responsibility and a condition for planting seeds of peace to build a more secure future for all. “The recent World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul put the spotlight on the extent to which the international community is falling short on fulfilling this right, and the need to act urgently to bridge a dangerous gap that carries repercussions across generations,” she added, noting that “this is a humanitarian emergency and a development imperative.”

Only 50% of refugee children are estimated to be in primary school, and only 25% in secondary school. Girls are the most likely to be missing out, reinforcing their marginalization and vulnerability. Refugee children and adolescents are five times more likely to be out of school than their non-refugee peers, she said.

These are the findings of “No More Excuses” Report, published by the Global Education Monitoring Report and the UN High Commission for Refugees, and they reflect neglect on a wide scale, Bokova pointed out, noting that “we cannot build peace on such exclusion.”

“These children and youth have been displaced largely as a result of conflict. They have lived through harrowing experiences, separation and loss. On a nearly daily basis over the past year, the world has borne witness to an unfolding tragedy of mass migration ,” she added, stressing that “we are not investing enough in the only response that can bring hope and opportunity: education.”

By simply being in school, children are better protected from trafficking, illegal adoption, child marriage, sexual exploitation and forced labour, Bokova noted, adding that children gain a renewed sense of belonging, of stability.

“Exceptional measures are needed to meet the needs of refugee children everywhere,” she added, noting that “it is our collective responsibility to deliver quality education and skills, even in the toughest of circumstances.”

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