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HRW: Lebanon must extend school registration deadline for Syria refugee children

KAHRAMANMARAS, TURKEY - SEPTEMBER 19: Syrian refugee children attend 2nd degree class at the Kahramanmaras refugee camp's school on September 19, 2019 in Kahramanmaras, Turkey. Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is pushing for the creation of an expanded “safe zone” in northern Syria where his government hopes to resettle up to three million Syrian refugees. The United States and Turkey recently started joint patrols of a small buffer zone along the border, but it’s a far cry from the 20-by-300 mile strip proposed by Mr. Erdogan, and no other power involved in the war as agreed to the idea. Turkey has warned that, if it doesn’t receive more international support for the safe zone, it might relax its migration controls and reopen the route for refugees to enter Europe. More than 3.6 million Syrian refugees have settled in Turkey after fleeing the civil war that began in 2011. (Photo by Burak Kara/Getty Images)
Syrian refugee children attend 2nd degree class at the Kahramanmaras refugee camp's school on September 19, 2019 in Kahramanmaras, Turkey. [Burak Kara/Getty Images]

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday called on Lebanon to extend the school registration deadline, ending on 4 December, for Syrian refugee children.

According to HRW, Lebanon should: "End policies that are blocking Syrian refugee children's access to education."

The rights group shared: "Thousands of Syrian refugee children have been out of school, blocked by policies that require certified educational records, legal residency in Lebanon, and other official documents that many Syrians cannot obtain."

Bill Van Esveld, associate children's rights director at HRW, expressed: "There is no excuse for policies that block Syrian children from going to school and leave them with nowhere to turn for a better future."

READ: Storm hits refugee camps in Syria's Idlib

According to HRW, humanitarian groups consistently report cases of primary school principals arbitrarily refusing to enrol Syrian students who cannot provide documents that the Education Ministry does not require.

A 2021 United Nations assessment found that Lebanon hosts 660,000 school-age Syrian refugee children, but 30 per cent – 200,000 – have never been to school, and almost 60 per cent were not enrolled in school in recent years.

"If Lebanon's new government wants to prevent a lost generation, it needs to stop creating bottlenecks and demanding unobtainable paperwork from refugee children who want to go to school," Van Esveld urged.

He added: "To be clear, if the government does not revoke these policies, it will be responsible for gross abuse of the right to education."

HRWInternational OrganisationsLebanonMiddle EastNewsSyria
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