Refugees’ Education in Emergency Situations

Mehmet Ferden ÇARIKÇI 16.06.2015

Mr. High Commissioner, Excellencies,

Distinguished Panelists,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wouId like to thank you all for being with us today at this side event on such an extremely important issue.

Please allow me to express my sincere gratitude to H.E. High Commissioner Guterres, who, despite his very tight schedule, accepted to join us today along with our distinguished panelists.

Refugees’ Education in Emergency Situations is an extremely important, yet often neglected aspect of the humanitarian efforts.

Unfortunately, we are facing with humanitarian tragedies across the world, on a daily basis. Wars, conflicts, natural disasters turn peaceful lives of entire populations into unbearable obscurities in the blink of an eye. Families, once planning the future of their children, find themselves fleeing their roots, homes, schools and countries, along with their hopes for the future, with a sole demand of survival.

In such situations, vulnerable groups, particularly women and children, are the first and foremost among those effected negatively by the situation. Some of these displaced persons or refugees have the chance to return to their homes. But here, we have to remember that the average duration of displacement is 17 years. Unfortunately, although humanitarian needs are one way or another attempted to be addressed, education of the children is mostly neglected or at least taken as a second priority.

Affects and traumas of today’s humanitarian crises may be relieved, if not cured. But if the deprivation of education cannot be cured, nothing can solve tomorrow’s repercussions of today’s humanitarian crises. Therefore, it is a MUST to address effectively and immediately the disruption of healthy development of children by all means, so that the phenomenon of “lost generations” can be avoided.

Before listening to Mr. High Commissioner and our distinguished panelists, I would like to briefly touch upon a solid example: the situation of Syrians in Turkey.

As we are in the fifth year of the conflict in Syria, today, more than 600.000 Syrians living in Turkey are at schooling age. Moreover, more than 50.000 new births were registered in Turkey. This shows us the growing need for education services for refugees. Moreover, since Turkey is not an Arabic speaking country, like other host states, the genuine challenge is providing these education services, as well as the vocational training for adults, in a foreign language. I am sure that Mr. Dilsiz of the Turkish Prime Ministry Disaster & Emergency Management Authority, AFAD will give you more insights on how this immense need is addressed.

I thank you for your participation and wish you all a fruitful debate.


Atatürk

Sadık Arslan Ambassador

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