WG-USA Advocacy 2017.1.R16

2017.1.R16 Access to Education for Refugee Women and Girls

The 10TH Annual WG-USA General Meeting resolves that:

  1. WG-USA shall actively inform its members about the human rights violations of refugees including the violation of their most basic rights and the right to education to the best of their knowledge.
  2.  WG-USA shall engage and support its members in investigating barriers to education for refugees such as lost/missing personal identification, inappropriately long stays at detention centers with no access to educational institutions, requirements of needing to provide previous education documents, inappropriate use of placement tests for children, and inappropriate evaluation of preparedness for enrolment and lack of funding to support education of refugees in general.
  3. WG-USA shall support its members in the advocacy of all human rights for refugee women and girls and particularly the right to timely and appropriate education, with federal, state and local governments. This support will occur through frequent, systematic, and detailed updates to WG-USA membership of the status of refugee women and girls (children) relative to their access to education.
  4. WG – USA shall partner with domestic and international non-profit agencies advocating for and providing services to, refugees, in order to magnify its voice and work on behalf of refugees.
  5. WG- USA shall express its concern to the United Nations that the right to education for all refugee women and girls should be upheld and safeguarded and that member nations shall pass and put into action legislation supporting refugee women’s and girls’ access to quality education.

Suggested Plan of Action:

  1. WG-USA members shall urge the United States Government to support an educational system that provides adequate access for refugee women and girls residing in the USA.
  2. WG-USA members shall advocate for an educational system that accepts previously earned academic credits so that women and girls are not penalized because of their refugee status.
  3. WG-USA members shall advocate for online/distance learning technologies and resources for the education of refugee women and girls residing in the USA, in refugee camps, and where displaced persons reside.
  4. WG-USA members shall work together and with NGOs to create global awareness of the adverse effects on refugee children when they are unable to access education appropriate to their academic level.
  5. WG-USA shall work together and with NGOs to support, advocate for NGOs who assist refugees with gaining previous educational documents that allow for job placement and further education.
  6. WG-USA shall seek to partner with an existing program with a proven track record for supporting women’s and girls’ education to advance this resolution’s mission for refugee education.

Supporting Statement:

Amongst the plethora of the issues facing refugees is the lack of access to quality education during resettlement and the inability to document previous education in order to get jobs and /or placement in educational institution.  These two aspects are key to financial, mental, and emotional survival of the refugee.  Reports from several NGOs including UNHCR and UNICEF indicate that for an entire generation of refugees, education may be inadequate or absent.. In addition, some are prevented from obtaining employment or furthering their education because of missing documents.

“Education is the best thing in life,” said a 12-year-old girl in Jeb Jannine, Lebanon. And yet, a large number of Syrian refugee children are not in school, despite efforts by governments and UN agencies. – UNHCR, The Future of Syria: Refugee Children in Crisis.

In summary, this resolution aligns with the mission of WG-USA to gain opportunities and empowerment for women and girls through education.