In 2015, the photo a young refugee died on the sand, Aylan, have made a lot of waves. Today the issue of protecting refugee children is still unsolved. 300.000 refugee children are identified by UNICEF. Omani and Lebanese delegations from the UNESCO council wanted to talk about it but visibly the other delegations was little concerned so we decided to interview them to highlight their positions.
To what extent your countries are impacted by this issue?
Lebanon : “25% of the population are refugees. 1.5 million of Syrian refugees and half of this number is children. We hope refugees will return in their countries but we have to send them back educated because those children may be our tomorrow neighbour’s leaders.”
Oman: “We aren’t directly concerned. But our country has to provide them a good education because children are the future of our spaces. And both of us need funds.”
How do you school those children?
Lebanon: “We have set up 90 000 places in our public schools, without school fees.”
Oman: “In our country school is free for every nationality until high school level. But because of that we need funds from the United Nations.”
Are you calling for an international cooperation to rise funds?
Lebanon: “Yes we do. But we will make sure that our interests will be respect.”
But what will be the interests for the other countries?
Lebanon: “Education is a key for development. It provides a chance for the future to ensure security for coming years. Regarding the issue of the budget all countries of the committee agree that we need a rise of international funds.”
Are you satisfied by the current international help?
Lebanon: “In my case it is mostly for Palestinian children but it is not enough.”
Oman: “Regarding my countr there is nothing done, even for Syrian children refugees. When international help is efficient it is reserved to few countries. We have to keep those bases but make a more general model.”
So what solutions do you propose?
Lebanon and Oman : “First of all, as we said we went minimal funds for host countries, to build new schools. Then, to act against corruption, we propose to create a kind of observatory or controller to control for what financial aids are used for. We can also recruit refugee teachers to teach to children refugees, in order to be in line with their language and culture.”
But there is also the problem of recognizing a certain level of schooling for children…
Lebanon and Oman : “Yes, we need to recognize certain diplomas because many time if students know their diplomas in Lebanon for example will not be recognized in their country they will give up without trying even if they have the capacities. United Nations have to awareness students on the topic. But that’s not the only problem, United Nations also have to recognized a special statues to children native of refugee parents because many children are born without nationality and if refugees don’t have a status they don’t have aids.”
- Noémie JOUDELAT