Across the world, 3.5 million refugee children are denied the opportunity for an education. Human Rights Watch reports that in Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan, the countries which host the greatest numbers of Syrian refugees in the region, 536,000 Syrian refugee children are not in school.
Reports by Human Rights Watch reveal that numerous barriers prevent Syrian refugee children from receiving an education. Instruction in a foreign language, stigma and bullying in the classroom, and even corporal punishment by school staff deter children from going to school. Bureaucratic policies are also to blame. For example, in Turkey, Syrian children must often wait six months or more for a required identification card to enter public schools.
As of 2015, more than 70% of Syrian refugee families lived in poverty. A Human Rights Watch investigation in Lebanon found that these families could not afford school-related costs such as transportation and supplies, and needed children to earn money rather than go to school.
According to Bill Van Esveld, senior children's rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, the situation for Syrian refugee children is grim. "Donors and host countries have promised that Syrian children will not become a lost generation, and yet six years into the crisis, that is exactly what is happening. The governments involved urgently need to fix what's not working."
Every child deserves the right to go to school – and should not be prevented from doing so because of poverty, bureaucratic obstacles, discrimination, or violence. Please sign this petition urging the governments of Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan to introduce comprehensive legislation to address and remove barriers that are preventing Syrian refugee children from attending school.