Education for refugees, a basic right

Thu, 13/12/2018 - 12:40


Human rights. UNESCO is organising a meeting in the city to debate and exchange experiences.

This week sees the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The city is marking the occasion by hosting the first International Expert Meeting on Public Policies Supporting the Right to Education of Refugees, debating the protection of the right of refugees to equal and quality education.

The right of refugees to education is a major challenge. There are currently over 19.9 million refugees in the world, most of whom live in countries with average or low incomes.

Figures from the UNHCR show that child refugees are five times more likely to stop going to school. Only 61% go to primary school, a percentage which drops significantly when it comes to secondary school, as low as 21%. If we talk about higher education, only 1% of refugees have access, compared to 36% of young people in general.

Sharing experiences and acting at a political level

The meeting will be used to identify the main challenges facing countries, regions and cities taking in the largest numbers of refugees, enabling the exchange of good practice and determining key areas and public policies which need addressing.

At the end of the meeting of international experts a proposal will be made to UNESCO for a political declaration on the right to education for refugees, to include recommendations on relevant public policies at local, regional, national and international levels, as well as exchanges with member states and the international civil society.

International presence in Barcelona

The meeting is being held at the Palau Reial de Pedralbes and is organised by UNESCO, the UNHCR, the Government of Catalonia, Barcelona City Council and UNESCO Catalonia.

Participants at the meeting include Prof. Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education with UNESCO; Dr. Francesc Pedró, Head of Education Policies with UNESCO; Dr. Koumbou Boly Barry, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education  with the UN High Commissioner’s Office for Human Rights; Alfred Bosch, Minister for Foreign Action, Institutional Relations and Transparency with the Government of Catalonia; Laia Ortiz, Second Deputy Mayor of Barcelona City Council, and Dr. Eduard Vallory, Chair of UNESCO Catalonia.


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