Refugee children have a right to education.


Standing on the precipice of a new decade as winter draws in, I can think of few stories more tragic or more urgent from the last ten years than the global refugee crisis. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that 3. 8 million Syrian and Iraqi internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees are now in need of winterisation assistance in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. For many, this will be their ninth consecutive winter as refugees in the Middle East. Turkey's refugee population, swelled by 3. 6 million Syrians, became the largest in the world in 2018, while one in six people in Lebanon were refugees - the highest density in the world. Sadly, for all the times this human catastrophe has punctured the public consciousness with harrowing images of desperate, drowned children, the news agenda outside the Middle East has moved on with the West focused on Brexit and the US election cycle.

But we cannot ignore the brutal reality that one in every 108 people on the planet is displaced. Those forcibly displaced increased by 2. 3 million people in 2018, totalling almost 70. 8 million individuals by the year's end as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations. There are now even more people displaced than during the Second World War - more than at any time in human history. The world is still failing its most vulnerable sons and daughters by not opening up safe routes to sanctuary and resettling all those in need. Each and every upturned boat in the Mediterranean is another harrowing reminder of that failure written in blood. We need more imaginative remedies of this kind to tackle the education time bomb that ticks at the heart of the refugee crisis. Sadly, even when refugees make it to the safety of a new country,

the world continues to fail them every day they are kept from their birth right of a decent education. As a teacher, and as a champion of Education Cannot Wait [programme] speaking up for all those children whose education is disrupted by conflicts and disasters, this is one of the greatest injustices of all. Unesco's Global Education Monitoring report 2019, Migration, displacement and education: Building Bridges, Not Walls shows just how laws and policies are...

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