The Iraqi government has deprived thousands of children, whose parents are suspected of belonging to Daesh from their right to education, Human Rights Watch said yesterday.
Children born or living in areas under Daesh’s control between 2014 and 2017 do not have the civil documentation required by the government to enrol in schools, the international rights watchdog said.
“Denying children their right to education because of something their parents might have done is a grossly misguided form of collective punishment,” said Lama Faqih, acting Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
“Some Iraqi children lost three years of education under ISIS [Daesh]. The government should be doing everything in its power to ensure that children do not miss any more years of crucial education,” she added.
The principal of an elementary school adjacent to a camp for displaced families, located 30 kilometres south-east of Mosul, said that the ministry has instructed schools to expel pupils whose parents did not fulfil the pledge they had made last year that they would obtain their children’s documentation by the end of the school year, Human Rights Watch reported.
The camp’s administration told the rights organisation that at least 1,080 school-age children live in the camp next to the school, but only 50 have valid documents and are enrolled in school.
Human Rights Watch said it contacted the Iraqi government last month asking for clarification on its position towards children who do not have civil documents, and if they would be able to enrol in school, but has received no response.
The Iraqi government could not immediately be reached for comment on Human Rights Watch’s statement.