Current status on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Presented by Caren Thomas, Francisca Rosales and Samantha Orozco

This report was drafted by Broken Chalk to contribute to the call for inputs to analyze the status of the rights of Indigenous Peoples worldwide in the achievement of the ends of the Declaration, focusing on one or more interrelated articles of the Declaration. Broken Chalk is an organisation that fights against violations of Human Rights and improving the quality of education around the globe.

Despite the efforts, a significant gap persists in the obligations of different regional human rights systems to establish binding bodies and enforce their resolutions, hindering the effective safeguarding of indigenous rights. While regional bodies acknowledge the binding nature of the ILO 169 convention, shortcomings, particularly in Latin America, where domestic laws lack regulation of procedures, impede policy implementation.

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7A_Call_for_inputs_on_establishing_effective_mechanisms_at_the_national_and_regional_levels_for_implementation_of_United_Nations_Declaration_on_the_rights_of_Indigenous_Peoples

Featured image credits:

Photo by Pamela Huber on Unsplash

Input for a report on promoting human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals through transparent, accountable and efficient public service delivery

Written by Caren Thomas, Olimpia Guidi and Sterre Merel Krijnen

This report is a Submission to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the state of the issue for India, The Netherlands, New Zealand and Venezuela.

What are the main challenges identified in your country/region about public service delivery?

India

The main challenges with regards to education as a public service delivery include marginalisation of communities, funding in schools, public-private partnership model, capacity within educational institutions, quality standards, student-teacher ratio and lack of infrastructure are commonly encountered.

The Netherlands

The first challenge is the teacher shortage, causing a practical barrier to the equal delivery of quality education. In the academic year of 2021-2022, primary education experienced a lack of 9.2%, specialised primary education a shortage of 15.6%, secondary education a deficit of 23.1% and specialised secondary education a need of 9.7%. Compared to the preceding year, the scarcity was exacerbated except for technical secondary education.1 The insufficiency has repercussions for learning opportunities through class disruptions, employment of inadequately qualified instructors, and discontinuing of certain subjects.2 This impacts students disparately: schools in larger cities with a more complex student population face higher shortages than the average percentage.3

New Zealand

The main challenges to education as a public service delivery include intercultural education, indigenous communities and its educational policies, child poverty, COVID-19 educational implications and challenges in disability education initiatives.

Venezuela

Venezuela’s enduring economic crisis has left an indelible mark on its educational system. Characterised by hyperinflation, currency devaluation, and a scarcity of resources, this crisis has taken a toll on schools. Beyond crumbling infrastructure, students often attend classes without desks or chairs due to severe funding shortages. The scarcity of textbooks, school supplies, and even necessities like paper and pencils has become the norm, significantly compromising the quality of education provided to the students.

You can download the full report in this link.

4A_Promoting_human_rights_and_the_Sustainable_Development_Goals


References

1 Van Aalst et al. (2023). De Staat van het Onderwijs. Onderwijsinspectie. 30-31. https://www.onderwijsinspectie.nl/binaries/onderwijsinspectie/documenten/rapporten/2023/05/10/rapport-de-staat-van-het-onderwijs-2023/Staat+van+het+Onderwijs+2023.pdf

2 Onderwijsraad. (2023). Schaarste schuurt. Onderwijsraad. 7. https://www.onderwijsraad.nl/publicaties/adviezen/2023/06/29/schaarste-schuurt

3 Van Aalst et al. (2023). De Staat van het Onderwijs. Onderwijsinspectie. 30. https://www.onderwijsinspectie.nl/binaries/onderwijsinspectie/documenten/rapporten/2023/05/10/rapport-de-staat-van-het-onderwijs-2023/Staat+van+het+Onderwijs+2023.pdf

Filistin Halkıyla Uluslararası Dayanışma Günü

Benjamin Koponen, Caren Thomas & Zina Sabbagh yazdı

Filistin’deki Eğitim Ortamı

Gazze’deki son olaylardan sonra, bölgeden bir gazeteci olan Bisan Owda, çoğu röportajına hayatta kaldığını onaylarak başlıyor. Sözleri üzücü gerçeği bir kez daha ortaya koyuyor.“Gazzede güvenli bir yer yok.” wizard_bisan1, Instagram, 2023

Eğitim kurumları üzerindeki yıkıcı etki bu açık gerçeğin altını çiziyor. Bu küçük coğrafi bölgede 200’den fazla okul acımasızca hasar görmüş, bombalanmış ya da tamamen yerle bir edildi.i Şaşırtıcı bir şekilde bu, Gazze Şeridi’ndeki toplam okul sayısının neredeyse %40’ını oluşturuyor.

Uluslararası hukuk ve küresel toplum tarafından korunan bir kuruluş olarak kabul edilen UNRWA (Birleşmiş Milletler Filistinli Mültecilere Yardım Kuruluşu) tesisleri ve okulları artık güvenlik güvencesi taşımıyor.ii Bu gerçek, 19 Kasım tarihinde Gazze’nin kuzeyinde yer alan ve UNRWA’ya ait olduğu bilinen Al Fakhoura okulunun bombalanmasıyla acı bir şekilde ortaya çıktı.iii O sırada aralarında öğretmenler, öğrenciler, aileler ve yaşlıların da bulunduğu 7.000’den fazla kişi okulun duvarları arasına sığınmıştı. Hayallerin ve umutların gerçeğe dönüşmesine yardımcı olan bir eğitim kurumu olan bu sığınak bir anda yok edildi.

Fotoğraf   Luke White , Unsplash tarafından

Filistin ortaöğretimi üç temel sektörden oluşuyor: Özel okullar, devlet okulları ve özellikle Filistinli mülteciler için kurulan UNRWA okulları.iv Bu kurumlar, Filistin Hükümeti tarafından belirlenen standart Filistin Müfredatına bağlı. Dikkat edilmesi gereken ilginç bir husus, İsrail Hükümeti Filistin Müfredatı üzerinde sürekli inceleme ve sansür uyguluyor. v TBu kurumlar, Filistin Hükümeti tarafından belirlenen standart Filistin Müfredatına bağlı. Dikkat edilmesi gereken ilginç bir husus, İsrail Hükümeti Filistin Müfredatı üzerinde sürekli inceleme ve sansür uyguluyor.vi

Ayrıca, Filistin’in sınırlarını çizen bir haritanın tasviri de sürekli olarak yasaklanmaktadır. Bu durum Filistin müfredatını son derece esnek olmaya zorluyor çünkü müfredatta sürekli değişiklikler yapılıyor.vii Dahası, hem öğrenciler hem de öğretmenler okullara erişimde çok sayıda engelle karşılaşıyor. Batı Şeria genelinde kontrol noktaları önemli bir engel teşkil etmekte ve bireylerin eğitim kurumlarına geçişini engelliyor. Benzer şekilde Gazze’de de sık sık meydana gelen bombalamalar, öğrencilerin ve eğitimcilerin eğitim arayışlarında karşılaştıkları zorlukları daha da arttırıyor viii.

Ortaöğretim sektörünün karşı karşıya olduğu bir diğer engel de finansman. Eğitimi Saldırıdan Korumak için Küresel Koalisyon (GCPEA) tarafından hazırlanan bir raporda, Mayıs 2021’de meydana gelen saldırıda okul tesislerine verilen zararın onarılması için yaklaşık 3,55 milyon ABD dolarına ihtiyaç duyulacağı belirtildi.ix Bu nedenle, eğitim sektörü büyük ölçüde başta BM olmak üzere uluslararası toplumdan gelen bağış ve yardımlara bağlı.x Ancak 2016 yılından bu yana UNWRA okullarına yapılan yardım, siyasi arenadaki değişiklikler nedeniyle radikal bir şekilde azalıyor.xi

Gazze’deki toplam 561 okulun 264’ü UNRWA tesisinden oluşuyor ve bunun temel sebebi ise yıkılan komşu köylerden gelen yüksek mülteci nüfusu.xii Bu nedenle, bu okulların birçoğu düzgün bir şekilde kullanılacak altyapı, sınıf ve malzemeden yoksun; buna rağmen yine de geliştiriliyor ve en iyi kapasitelerinde kullanılmak için mümkün oldukça çok malzeme kullanılıyor. Öğrenciler tüm bu zorlukları aşsalar bile, Gazze dışında yüksek öğrenim görmek istediklerinde İsrail’den izin alamıyorlar ve bu da onları Gazze’ye hapsediyor.

Eğitimsel olarak, İsrail, bu zorlukları daha da kötüleştiren çok sayıda farklı taktikler uyguluyor. Gazze’ye yönelik yıkım ve savaş sona erse bile, öğrencilerin, öğretmenlerin ve diğer bireylerin yaşadığı travma ve TSSB’nin işlenmesi, iyileşmesi ve tamamen iyileşmesi nesiller alacaktır. 

Fotoğraf Austin Crick , Unsplash tarafında

Filistinli Çocukların Ruh Sağlığı

Ruh sağlığı, insanların kendilerini ve çevrelerindeki dünyayı anladıkları hassas bir prizmadır. Bu prizma insanların stresi yönetme, yeteneklerini besleme, etkili bir şekilde öğrenme/çalışma ve toplumlarını destekleme becerileriyle sembolize edilir.xiii Dayanıklılık stratejileri, travma ile yaşamanın bir başa çıkma mekanizması olmaktan ziyade insanların engelleri aşmasına ve birey olarak gelişmesine olanak tanır. Ancak, çocukluk dönemindeki travmatik olaylar – savaş gibi – sağlıklı başa çıkma mekanizmalarının etkinliğini aşan bir stres seviyesine yol açabilir. Gazze/Batı Şeria’daki süregelen bombalamalar, yerinden edilmeler ve işgal, yerel Filistinli çocuklar arasında kaygı, depresyon ve travma sonrası stres bozukluğunu arttırdı.

IDF(İsrail Savunma Kuvvetleri) 7 Ekim’den bu yana yaklaşık 11.320 Filistinli sivili öldürdü.xiv Bunların arasında 4.650 çocuk ve 3.145 kadın da bulunuyordu. 29.200 kişi yaralanmış, 3.600 kişiden ise haber alınamadı (bunların 1.755’i çocuktu).xv On iki yıl önce Dimitry “çatışmaya bağlı travmatik deneyimlerin zihinsel, davranışsal ve duygusal sorunların yaygınlığı ile pozitif korelasyon gösterdiğini” tespit etti.xvi

2011 yılına kadar, çocukların yaklaşık %23 ila %70’inin TSSB’den muzdarip olduğu bildiriliyor.xvii Travma sonrası stres bozukluğu (TSSB) aşırı gergin deneyimlere verilen uzun süreli zihinsel/fizyolojik bir tepkidir. Filistinli çocuklar için terör saldırılarına maruz kalmak, evlerinden edilmek, şiddetli istismar ve günlük aşağılanmaya tanık olmak onları hayatta kalma moduna zorluyor.xviii

Günlük rutini sürdürmek, çocukların ruh sağlığını sağlamanın ayrılmaz bir parçasıdır. Ancak okulların, evlerin yıkılması ve düzenli olarak yer değiştirmeler, öngörülemeyen bir ortam yaratıyor. İsrail işgalinin süregelen doğasının, sivillerin (özellikle çocukların) iyileşme fırsatını ortadan kaldırdığı belirtildi.xix Sonuç olarak, sürekli bir travmatik stres durumunda oluyorlar. 2022 yılındaki verilere göre, çocukların %90’ı ebeveynlerinden ayrılma kaygısına sahip, %50’den fazlası intihar etmeyi düşünmekte ve %59’u tepkisel bağlanma bozukluğuna sahipti.xx Guardian ayrıca çocukların uyku güçlüğü de yaşadığını bildirmiştir.xxi Bununla birlikte, çocuklar bu travma sonrası stres belirtilerine (TSSB) farklı şekillerde yanıt vermek için stratejiler geliştirmiştir. Bunlar arasında travmatik olaylara aktif olarak maruz kalma ve siyasi şiddete karşı travma tepkisi olarak siyasi direniş yer almaktadır.

Filistinli gençlerin -genellikle genç erkek ve erkek çocukların- dayak yiyen/hapse atılan akranlarına saygı gösterdikleri biliniyor.xxii Bu şekilde zulüm korkusunu cesarete dönüştürüyorlar. Buna karşılık, Filistinli genç kadın ve kızların TSSB’yi anksiyete ve depresyon yoluyla ifade etme olasılıkları daha yüksek oluyor.xxiii Bu özellikler, Orta Doğu’da kız/erkek çocuklara yönelik cinsiyetçi beklentilerle örtüşüyor. Şaşırtıcı olmayan bir şekilde, bu davranışlarda bulunan genç erkekler ve oğlanlar, kadın meslektaşlarına göre daha fazla TSSB sergiliyor.xxiv Travmaya aktif olarak maruz kalmak, bir travma tepkisi olarak dirençle derinden bağlantılıdır.

Wispelwey & Jamei, siyasi aktivizmin, özellikle de Büyük Dönüş Yürüyüşü’nün (GMR), “bir eylemlilik ve umut duygusu yoluyla toplum ruh sağlığı üzerinde olumlu bir etki” sağlayabileceğini gösteriyor.xxv Mart 2018’de başlatılan bir dizi gösteri olan GMR, Filistinlilerin anavatanlarına geri dönme hakkını (194 sayılı BM Kararı ile güvence altına alınmıştır) sembolize etmeyi amaçlıyordu. GMR dans, yemek ve sloganlarla dolu kültürel/kutlama atmosferini benimsedi. Protestocular, İsrail Savunma Kuvvetleri’nin militarist tepkisiyle(göz yaşartıcı gaz ve kalabalığa keskin nişancı ateşi), karşılaştılar.xxvi

Filistin’deki çocukların ruh sağlığının vahim durumu, İsrail işgali gerçeğiyle iç içe geçmiştir. Anksiyete, savaşa verilen mantıksız bir tepki değildir. Depresyon, fırsat eksikliğine verilen irrasyonel bir tepki değildir. Bunlar siyasi liderler tarafından alınan kararların psikolojik belirtileridir. Save The Children tarafından yayınlanan bir mektupta 6 Filistinli çocuk -Salma, Niveen, Zain, Samer, Khaled ve Amal- dileklerini şöyle özetlemişlerdir; “İlk dileğimiz savaşın sona ermesi… Yıkılan tüm binaların temizlenmesini ve yerlerine daha iyi ve daha güzel bir şeyin gelmesini umuyoruz”.xxvii Tıbbi bakım, altyapı ve toplum desteği iyileşmenin ayrılmaz bir parçası olacaktır.  Ateşkes bu iyileşme sürecinin ilk adımıdır.

Filistin’de Öğrenciler İçin Kaynak Yoksunluğu

Birleşmiş Milletler, 2023 yılının başında Filistinli çocukları ve eğitimlerini etkileyen en az 423 olay kaydetti. Bu olaylara İsrail güçlerinin okullara ateş açması, çocukların operasyonlar düzenlemesi ve okulları yıkması da dâhildir.xxviii Gazze Eğitim Bakanlığı xxix 2023-2024 eğitim-öğretim yılını askıya aldı. Gazze’nin ayrım gözetmeksizin bombalanması nedeniyle, Gazze Şeridi’ndeki okullar Filistinliler için “güvenli alanlar” olarak kullanılıyor. Ancak okullar bile İsrail bombardımanının hedefi olmuş durumda.

Halihazırda, Birleşmiş Milletler Filistinli Mültecilere Yardım Kuruluşu UNRWA tarafından işletilen okullar İsrail saldırılarının hedefi oldu. xxx Bu okulların silahlı çatışma sırasında güvenli bölgeler olarak kabul edilmesi gerekiyor. Ancak Gazze’de tanık olduğumuz şey, başta çocuklar olmak üzere masum sivillerin kasıtlı olarak hedef alınmasıdır. Okullara sığınanların bu şekilde hedef alınması, sonuçta çok sayıda sivilin ölümüne ve yaralanmasına yol açıyor. Silahlı bir çatışma okulları ve diğer eğitim kurumlarını hedef aldığında ortaya çıkan kaynak kaybı nedeniyle eğitimin aksamasına sebep oluyor.

 Fotoğraf Gayatri Malhotra, Unsplash tarafından

Rafto Ödülü 2023’ün sahibi olan Uluslararası Çocukları Savunma Örgütü – Filistin, ‘Savaşta Çocuk, 2022’ raporunda xxxi Filistinli çocukların uluslararası toplumdan maddi yardım istemediklerini dile getirdiklerini belirtmişti. Bunun yerine çocuklar, kontrol noktalarında yapılan aramalardan ve okullarda gerçekleşen saldırılardan korunmak istiyor. Ayrıca, Filistin’den çocuk insan hakları savunucularına uluslararası insan hakları organlarıyla toplantılara katılma şansı verildi, ancak çocukların ihtiyaçlarının ele alınmasına önem verilmedi. Sahadaki gerçeklik aynı kalmaya devam ediyor.

Gazze Şeridi, altyapı ve diğer eğitim kaynaklarına büyük zarar veren silahlı çatışmalara sahne olmaya devam ediyor. Eğitim için okulda olması gereken bir çocuk, bombardımanlardan korunmak için ailesiyle birlikte okula gidiyor. Hasar gören okul sayısının en az 300 olduğu ve 183 öğretmenin öldürüldüğü bildiriliyor.xxxii Ayrıca İsrail’in su, gıda, tıbbi malzeme, elektrik ve yakıt ablukası da bu çocukların kaynaklara erişiminde ciddi riskler yaratıyor.

Çatışma nedeniyle çocuğun eğitiminde meydana gelen bir boşluk, psikososyal desteğin yokluğu ile birleştiğinde, birçok çocuğun umutsuzca geride kalmasına neden olabilir. Gazze’deki durum, halkın okullarını, sağlık hizmetlerini ve diğer eğitim kaynaklarını yeniden inşa etmesini gerektiriyor. İnsanların geçici öğrenme alanlarını barındırmanın yollarını bulması, eğitim sistemlerini yeniden inşa etmek için uluslararası toplumdan destek alması ve en önemlisi, bu genç zihinlerin parçalanmış ortamını anlayabilecek donanıma sahip öğretim personeli bulması gerekiyor. Bu yürek burkan ortamda eğitim son derece önemli, zira Filistinli çocukların karşılaştığı bazı zorlukların üstesinden gelmek için bir omurga ve potansiyel özgürlük sunmaktadır.

Sayısız uluslararası yasa ve mekanizma mevcut olsa da, bunların uygulanması, uluslararası müdahalenin çok az olması nedeniyle etkisiz bir süreç oluştu. İsrail’in Filistin’e yönelik saldırılarının uluslararası insancıl hukukla alay etmek olduğu tartışmasız bir şekilde ortadadır.

Okurlarımızı bu sorularla baş başa bırakıyoruz.

İnsan Hakları Evrensel Beyannamesi’nde yer alan temel bir insan hakkı olan eğitim, Filistinli çocuklar için ne zaman uzak bir lüks olmaktan çıkacak?

Filistinli bir çocuk ne zaman “savaş çocuğu” olmayı bırakır ve pozitif öğrenme, büyüme ve mutluluk dolu bir yaşamı kucaklar?


Referanslar

i UNESCO. (2023). Gaza: UNESCO calls for an immediate halt to strikes against schools. UNESCO. https://www.unesco.org/en/articles/gaza-unesco-calls-immediate-halt-strikes-against-schools

ii UNRWA. (2023). THE GAZA STRIP: UNRWA SCHOOLS SHELTERING DISPLACED PEOPLE CONSTANTLY. UNRWA. https://www.unrwa.org/newsroom/official-statements/gaza-strip-unrwa-schools-sheltering-displaced-people-constantly-hit

iii Al Jazeera. (2023). Many killed in Israeli attacks on two schools in northern Gaza. Al Jazeera. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/11/18/israeli-forces-strike-al-fakhoora-school-in-northern-gaza

iv Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. (2023). Schools Placement Around Palestine. https://www.pcbs.gov.ps/Portals/_Rainbow/Documents/Basic_Schools_ar.html

v Al Jazeera Net. (2017). Accusing the Palestinian curriculum of incitement against Israel. Al Jazeera Net. https://www.aljazeera.net/news/presstour

vi Al Jazeera Net. (2004). Israeli Efforts to Change the Palestinian Educational Curriculum جهود إسرائيلية محمومة لتغيير مناهج التعليم الفلسطينية. Al Jazeera Net. https://www.aljazeera.net/news

vii Palestinian Ministry of Education. (2023). Sectoral strategy for education. https://www.moe.pna.ps/category/content/1036

viii Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates. (n.d.). Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates. State of Palestine Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates. http://www.mofa.pna.ps

ix Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack. (2022). Measuring the Impact of Attacks on Education in Palestine. https://protectingeducation.org/wp- content/uploads/impact_attackeducation_palestine_2022_en.pdf

x Palestinian Ministry of Education. (2023). Sectoral strategy for education. https://www.moe.pna.ps/category/content/1036

xi BBC News. (2018, January 17). UN alarmed as US cuts aid to Palestinian refugee agency. BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-42717333

xii Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. (2023). Schools Placement Around Palestine. https://www.pcbs.gov.ps/Portals/_Rainbow/Documents/Basic_Schools_ar.html

xiii World Health Organization: WHO. (2022, June 17). Mental health. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-strengthening-our-response

xiv Anadolu staff. (2023, November). Gaza death toll soars to 11,320 amid relentless Israeli attacks, including 4,650 children. aa.com. https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/gaza-death-toll-soars-to-11-320-amid-relentless-israeli-attacks-including-4-650-children/3053701#

xv Anadolu staff. (2023, November). Gaza death toll soars to 11,320 amid relentless Israeli attacks, including 4,650 children. aa.com. https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/gaza-death-toll-soars-to-11-320-amid-relentless-israeli-attacks-including-4-650-children/3053701#

xvi Dimitry, L. D. (2011). A systematic review on the mental health of children and adolescents in areas of armed conflict in the Middle East. Child: Care, Health and Development38(2), 153–161. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2214.2011.01246.x

xvii Dimitry, L. D. (2011). A systematic review on the mental health of children and adolescents in areas of armed conflict in the Middle East. Child: Care, Health and Development38(2), 153–161. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2214.2011.01246.x

xviii Dimitry, L. D. (2011). A systematic review on the mental health of children and adolescents in areas of armed conflict in the Middle East. Child: Care, Health and Development38(2), 153–161. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2214.2011.01246.x

xix Agbaria, N., Petzold, S., Deckert, A., Henschke, N., Veronese, G., Dambach, P., Jaenisch, T., Horstick, O., & Winkler, V. (2020). Prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder among Palestinian children and adolescents exposed to political violence: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLOS ONE16(8), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0256426

xx Sherwood, H. (2023, October 22). Children in Gaza ‘developing severe trauma’ after 16 days of bombing. The Guardianhttps://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/oct/22/children-in-gaza-developing-severe-trauma-after-16-days-of-bombing

xxi Save the Children International. (2022, June 15). After 15 years of blockade, four out of five children in Gaza say they are living with depression, grief and fearhttps://www.savethechildren.net/news/after-15-years-blockade-four-out-five-children-gaza-say-they-are-living-depression-grief-and

xxii Agbaria, N., Petzold, S., Deckert, A., Henschke, N., Veronese, G., Dambach, P., Jaenisch, T., Horstick, O., & Winkler, V. (2020). Prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder among Palestinian children and adolescents exposed to political violence: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLOS ONE16(8), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0256426

xxiii Wispelwey, B. W., & James, Y. A. J. (2020). The Great March of Return. Health and Human Rights Journal22(1), 179–186. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/26923484

xxiv Agbaria, N., Petzold, S., Deckert, A., Henschke, N., Veronese, G., Dambach, P., Jaenisch, T., Horstick, O., & Winkler, V. (2020). Prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder among Palestinian children and adolescents exposed to political violence: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLOS ONE16(8), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0256426

xxv Wispelwey, B. W., & James, Y. A. J. (2020). The Great March of Return. Health and Human Rights Journal22(1), 179–186. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/26923484

xxvi Save The Children. (2022). Trapped: The Impact of 15 years of blockade on the mental health of Gaza’s childrenhttps://resourcecentre.savethechildren.net/pdf/gaza_blockade_mental_health_palestinian_children_2022.pdf/

xxvii Save The Children. (2022). Trapped: The Impact of 15 years of blockade on the mental health of Gaza’s childrenhttps://resourcecentre.savethechildren.net/pdf/gaza_blockade_mental_health_palestinian_children_2022.pdf/

xxviii United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. “Back to school: 1.3 million Palestinian children in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are returning to school during a tumultuous year.” ochaopt.org August 21, 2023. http://www.ochaopt.org/content/back-school-13-million-palestinian-children-west-bank-and-gaza-strip-are-returning-school-during-tumultuous

xxix Middle East Monitor. “Amidst the bombing, school year suspended in Gaza.” middleeastmonitor.com November 6, 2023. https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20231106-amidst-the-bombing-school-year-suspended-in-gaza/

xxx Mhawish, Mohammed R. “‘Why bomb schools?’ Gaza families have no safe space amid Israeli attacks”. aljazeera.com October 10, 2023. https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2023/10/10/why-bomb-schools-gaza-families-have-no-safe-space-amid-israeli-attacks

xxxi Defence for Children International. “Children affected by armed Conflict.” defenceforchildren.org 2022. https://defenceforchildren.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Children-and-Armed-Conflict-Report.pdf

xxxii Becker, Jo. “Israel/Gaza Hostilities Take Horrific Toll on Children.” Human Rights Watch. November 22, 2023. https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/11/22/israel/gaza-hostilities-take-horrific-toll-children

Journée internationale de solidarité avec le peuple palestinien ~ 29 novembre 2023

Protesters march with free Palestine signs

Ecrit par Benjamin Koponen, Caren Thomas & Zina Sabbagh et traduit en français par Laraib Ahmed

Photo par Luke White sur Unsplash

Le Paysage Éducatif en Palestine

Au milieu des récentes escalades à Gaza, Bisan Owda, une journaliste de la région, commence la plupart de ses interviews en reconnaissant sa survie. Ses mots résonnent avec la réalité saisissante.

“Il n’y a pas d’endroit sûr à Gaza.”wizard_bisan1, Instagram, 2023.

L’impact dévastateur sur les institutions éducatives souligne cette vérité criante. Plus de 200 écoles ont été cruellement endommagées, bombardées, ou entièrement rasées dans cette petite région géographique. De manière choquante, cela représente près de 40 % du nombre total d’écoles dans la bande de Gaza.

Les installations et écoles de l’UNRWA (Office de secours et de travaux des Nations unies pour les réfugiés de Palestine dans le Proche-Orient), considérées comme des établissements protégés par le droit international et la communauté mondiale, ne bénéficient plus de la garantie de sécurité. La réalité est devenue douloureusement évidente avec le bombardement de l’école Al Fakhoura de l’UNRWA, un établissement largement reconnu dans le nord de Gaza, le 19 novembre. À ce moment-là, plus de 7 000 personnes, dont des enseignants, des étudiants, des familles et des personnes âgées, cherchaient refuge derrière ses murs. En un instant, ce sanctuaire, un institut éducatif qui a aidé à réaliser des rêves et des espoirs, a été détruit.

Approfondir les défis des Palestiniens dans le domaine éducatif offre un tableau plus clair de leurs luttes. L’éducation secondaire palestinienne comprend trois secteurs principaux : les écoles privées, les écoles publiques et les écoles de l’UNRWA spécialement établies pour les réfugiés palestiniens. Ces institutions adhèrent au programme d’études palestinien normalisé établi par le gouvernement palestinien. Un aspect intrigant à noter est le contrôle et la censure continus imposés par le gouvernement israélien sur le programme d’études palestinien normalisé. Les autorités israéliennes restreignent les informations détaillées sur le patrimoine, la culture et l’histoire palestiniens.

De plus, la simple représentation d’une carte délimitant les frontières de la Palestine est régulièrement interdite. Cela force le programme d’études palestinien à être extrêmement flexible car des changements continus s’y opèrent. De plus, les élèves et les enseignants font face à de nombreux obstacles pour accéder aux écoles. Dans toute la Cisjordanie, les checkpoints constituent un obstacle majeur, entravant le déplacement des individus vers les établissements éducatifs. De même, à Gaza, les bombardements fréquents augmentent davantage les défis auxquels font face les étudiants et les éducateurs dans leur quête d’éducation.

Un autre obstacle auquel le secteur de l’éducation secondaire est confronté est le financement. Un rapport de la Coalition mondiale pour la protection de l’éducation contre les attaques (GCPEA) a mentionné qu’environ 3,55 millions de dollars seraient nécessaires pour réparer les dommages causés aux installations scolaires lors de l’agression de mai 2021. En raison de l’occupation militaire israélienne, l’économie de l’Autorité palestinienne est gravement entravée. Ainsi, le secteur éducatif dépend fortement des dons et de l’aide de la communauté internationale, principalement de l’ONU. Cependant, depuis 2016, l’aide aux écoles de l’UNRWA diminue radicalement en raison des changements dans le domaine politique.

Les écoles de Gaza se composent de 284 établissements de l’UNRWA sur 561 écoles en raison du nombre élevé de réfugiés des villages voisins détruits. Par conséquent, bon nombre de ces écoles manquent d’infrastructures, de salles de classe et de matériel pour fonctionner correctement ; cependant, elles prospèrent toujours et utilisent autant de matériel que possible pour fonctionner au mieux de leurs capacités. Même lorsque les étudiants surmontent tous ces défis difficiles, s’ils veulent poursuivre des études supérieures en dehors de Gaza, ils se voient refuser des permis par Israël, les confinant ainsi à Gaza. En ce qui concerne l’éducation, de nombreuses tactiques employées par l’occupation israélienne exacerbent ces difficultés. Même s’il y avait une fin à la destruction et à la guerre contre Gaza, le traumatisme et le SSPT (syndrome de stress post-traumatique) auxquels sont confrontés les étudiants, les enseignants et d’autres individus prendront des générations pour être traités, guéris et totalement récupérés.

Santé mentale des enfants palestiniens

Photo par Austin Crick sur Unsplash

La santé mentale est un prisme délicat à travers lequel les êtres humains se comprennent eux-mêmes et le monde qui les entoure. Ce prisme est symbolisé par la capacité des gens à gérer le stress, à développer leurs talents, à apprendre/travailler efficacement et à soutenir leur communauté. Ces stratégies de résilience ne sont pas des mécanismes de survie face au traumatisme mais permettent aux individus de surmonter les revers et de grandir en tant qu’individus. Cependant, les incidents traumatiques de l’enfance, tels que la guerre, peuvent induire des niveaux de stress qui dépassent l’efficacité des mécanismes de survie sains. Les bombardements continus, le déplacement et l’occupation de Gaza/Cisjordanie ont accru l’anxiété, la dépression et le SSPT parmi les enfants palestiniens locaux.

Depuis le 7 octobre, les forces de défense israéliennes ont tué environ 11 320 civils palestiniens. Parmi eux, 4 650 enfants et 3 145 femmes ont été tués, laissant 29 200 blessés et 3 600 non comptabilisés (dont 1 755 enfants). Il y a douze ans, Dimitry a trouvé que “les expériences traumatiques liées au conflit sont positivement corrélées à la prévalence des problèmes mentaux, comportementaux et émotionnels”.

Dès 2011, environ 23 % à 70 % des enfants auraient souffert de SSPT. Le SSPT est une réponse mentale/physiologique prolongée à des expériences extrêmement stressantes. Pour les enfants palestiniens, l’exposition aux attaques terroristes, le déplacement de leur domicile, les abus violents et le fait de témoigner quotidiennement de l’humiliation les poussent en mode survie.

Maintenir une routine quotidienne est essentiel pour assurer la santé mentale des enfants. Cependant, la destruction des écoles, des maisons et les déplacements réguliers créent un environnement imprévisible. On a remarqué que la nature persistante de l’occupation israélienne prive les civils (en particulier les enfants) d’un moment pour guérir. En conséquence, ils sont plongés dans un état constant de stress traumatique. En 2022, 90 % des enfants ressentent de l’anxiété de séparation par rapport à leurs parents, plus de 50 % ont envisagé le suicide, et 59 % présentent un mutisme réactif. De plus, le Guardian a rapporté que les enfants rencontrent également des difficultés à dormir. Cependant, les enfants ont développé des stratégies pour faire face à ces symptômes post-traumatiques de différentes manières. Cela inclut l’exposition active à des événements traumatiques et la résistance politique en tant que réponse au traumatisme causé par la violence politique.

Les jeunes Palestiniens, souvent des jeunes hommes et garçons, sont connus pour respecter leurs pairs battus/emprisonnés. De cette manière, ils transforment la peur de la persécution en courage. En revanche, les jeunes femmes et filles palestiniennes sont plus susceptibles de manifester des symptômes de SSPT par l’anxiété et la dépression. Ces caractéristiques correspondent aux attentes de genre des garçons/filles au Moyen-Orient. Sans surprise, les jeunes hommes et garçons qui adoptent ces comportements manifestent plus de symptômes de SSPT que leurs homologues féminins. L’exposition active au traumatisme est profondément liée à la résistance en tant que réponse au traumatisme.

Wispelwey & Jamei démontrent que l’activisme politique, en particulier la Grande Marche du Retour (GMR), peut avoir “un impact positif sur la santé mentale de la communauté via un sentiment d’agence, d’espoir”. La GMR, une série de manifestations initiée en mars 2018, était censée symboliser le droit des Palestiniens à retourner dans leur patrie (consacré par la résolution 194 de l’ONU). La GMR a adopté une atmosphère culturelle/festive remplie de danse, de nourriture et de chants. Les manifestants ont rencontré la réponse militariste de l’IDF – distribuant du gaz lacrymogène et tirant sur la foule – avec un sentiment ancré d’agence pour façonner leur réalité politique.

L’état désespéré de la santé mentale des enfants en Palestine est lié à la réalité de l’occupation israélienne. L’anxiété n’est pas une réponse irrationnelle à la guerre. La dépression n’est pas une réponse irrationnelle à un manque d’opportunités. Ce sont des symptômes psychologiques de décisions prises par des dirigeants politiques. Dans une lettre publiée par Save The Children, 6 enfants palestiniens – Salma, Niveen, Zain, Samer, Khaled et Amal – ont exposé leurs souhaits ; “La première chose que nous souhaitons, c’est que la guerre se termine… Nous espérons que tous les bâtiments détruits seront dégagés et que quelque chose de mieux et de plus beau viendra à leur place”. Les soins médicaux, l’infrastructure et le soutien communautaire seront essentiels pour la guérison. Un cessez-le-feu est la première étape de ce processus de guérison.

Déprivation des ressources pour les étudiants en Palestine

Au début de l’année 2023, les Nations unies ont enregistré au moins 423 incidents impactant les enfants palestiniens et leur éducation. Cela inclut les tirs des forces israéliennes sur les écoles et les enfants, les opérations et les démolitions d’écoles. Le Ministère de l’Éducation de Gaza a suspendu l’année scolaire 2023-2024. En raison des bombardements indiscriminés de Gaza, les écoles de la bande servent de “lieux sûrs” pour les Palestiniens. Cependant, même les écoles ont été visées par les bombardements israéliens.

Actuellement, les écoles gérées par l’UNRWA – l’Office de secours et de travaux des Nations unies pour les réfugiés de Palestine dans le Proche-Orient – ont été ciblées à de nombreuses reprises par des attaques israéliennes. Ces écoles sont censées être considérées comme des zones sécurisées pendant un conflit armé. Cependant, ce que nous constatons à Gaza, c’est le ciblage délibéré de civils innocents, en particulier d’enfants. Ce ciblage de ceux qui cherchent refuge dans les écoles entraîne finalement la mort et les blessures de nombreux civils. Cela conduit à la perturbation de l’éducation en raison de la perte de ressources lorsqu’un conflit armé cible les écoles et d’autres institutions éducatives.

Défense des Enfants International – Palestine, lauréate du Prix Rafto 2023, dans leur rapport “Enfant en Guerre, 2022”, a mentionné que les enfants palestiniens ont exprimé qu’ils ne veulent pas d’aide financière de la communauté internationale. Au lieu de cela, les enfants aimeraient être protégés des fouilles qui ont lieu aux checkpoints et des attaques qui se produisent à l’école. De plus, les défenseurs des droits de l’enfant de Palestine ont eu l’opportunité de participer à des réunions avec des organes internationaux de défense des droits de l’homme, mais aucune attention n’a été accordée pour répondre aux besoins des enfants. La réalité sur le terrain reste la même.

 Photo par Gayatri Malhotra sur Unsplash

La bande de Gaza continue de subir des conflits armés, causant des dommages colossaux aux infrastructures et aux ressources éducatives. Un enfant est censé être à l’école pour apprendre, mais maintenant, il se rend à l’école avec sa famille pour se protéger des bombardements. Le nombre d’écoles endommagées s’élève à au moins 300 écoles et 183 enseignants ont été tués. De plus, le blocus d’Israël sur l’eau, la nourriture, les fournitures médicales, l’électricité et le carburant impose de graves risques pour l’accès aux ressources de ces enfants.

Une lacune dans l’éducation de l’enfant qui survient en raison du conflit, associée à l’absence de soutien psychosocial, peut laisser de nombreux enfants se sentir désespérément en retard. La situation à Gaza nécessite que les habitants reconstruisent leurs écoles, leur assainissement et d’autres ressources éducatives. Les habitants doivent trouver des moyens d’adapter des espaces d’apprentissage temporaires, obtenir le soutien de la communauté internationale pour reconstruire leurs systèmes éducatifs et, surtout, trouver des enseignants équipés pour comprendre l’environnement brisé de ces jeunes esprits. L’éducation est extrêmement cruciale dans cet environnement déchirant, car elle offre l’épine dorsale et la liberté potentielle pour surmonter certaines des difficultés rencontrées par ces enfants palestiniens.

Alors que d’innombrables lois et mécanismes internationaux sont en place, les faire respecter a été un processus inefficace principalement en raison d’une intervention internationale minimale. Il est manifestement évident que les attaques israéliennes contre la Palestine se moquent du droit international humanitaire.

Nous laissons nos lecteurs avec ces questions :

Quand l’éducation, un droit fondamental de l’homme consacré dans la Déclaration universelle des droits de l’homme, cesse-t-elle d’être un luxe lointain pour les enfants de Palestine ?

Quand un enfant de Palestine cesse-t-il d’être un “enfant de guerre” et adopte-t-il une vie d’apprentissage, de croissance et de bonheur positifs ?”


References

  1.  Agbaria, N., Petzold, S., Deckert, A., Henschke, N., Veronese, G., Dambach, P., Jaenisch, T., Horstick, O., & Winkler, V. (2020). Prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder among Palestinian children and adolescents exposed to political violence: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLOS ONE, 16(8), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0256426
  2. Al Jazeera Net. (2004). Israeli Efforts to Change the Palestinian Educational Curriculum جهود إسرائيلية محمومة لتغيير مناهج التعليم الفلسطينية. Al Jazeera Net. https://www.aljazeera.net/news
  3. Al Jazeera Net. (2017).  Accusing the Palestinian curriculum of incitement against Israel. Al Jazeera Net.       https://www.aljazeera.net/news/presstour
  4. Al Jazeera. (2023). Many killed in Israeli attacks on two schools in northern Gaza. Al Jazeera. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/11/18/israeli-forces-strike-al-fakhoora-school-in-northern-gaza
  5. Anadolu staff. (2023, November). Gaza death toll soars to 11,320 amid relentless Israeli attacks, including 4,650 children. aa.com. https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/gaza-death-toll-soars-to-11-320-amid-relentless-israeli-attacks-including-4-650-children/3053701# 
  6. BBC News. (2018, January 17). UN alarmed as US cuts aid to Palestinian refugee agency. BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-42717333
  7. Becker, Jo. “Israel/Gaza Hostilities Take Horrific Toll on Children.” Human Rights Watch. November 22, 2023. https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/11/22/israel/gaza-hostilities-take-horrific-toll-children
  8. Defence for Children International. “Children affected by armed Conflict.” defenceforchildren.org 2022.  https://defenceforchildren.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Children-and-Armed-Conflict-Report.pdf
  9. Dimitry, L. D. (2011). A systematic review on the mental health of children and adolescents in areas of armed conflict in the Middle East. Child: Care, Health and Development, 38(2), 153–161. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2214.2011.01246.x
  10. Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack. (2022). Measuring the Impact of Attacks on Education in Palestine. https://protectingeducation.org/wp- content/uploads/impact_attackeducation_palestine_2022_en.pdf
  11. Mhawish, Mohammed R. “‘Why bomb schools?’ Gaza families have no safe space amid Israeli attacks”. aljazeera.com October 10, 2023. https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2023/10/10/why-bomb-schools-gaza-families-have-no-safe-space-amid-israeli-attacks 
  12. Middle East Monitor. “Amidst the bombing, school year suspended in Gaza.” middleeastmonitor.com November 6, 2023. https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20231106-amidst-the-bombing-school-year-suspended-in-gaza/
  13. Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. (2023). Schools Placement Around Palestine. https://www.pcbs.gov.ps/Portals/_Rainbow/Documents/Basic_Schools_ar.html
  14. Palestinian Ministry of Education. (2023). Sectoral strategy for education. https://www.moe.pna.ps/category/content/1036
  15. Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates. (n.d.). Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates. State of Palestine Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates. http://www.mofa.pna.ps
  16. Save the Children International. (2022, June 15). After 15 years of blockade, four out of five children in Gaza say they are living with depression, grief and fear. https://www.savethechildren.net/news/after-15-years-blockade-four-out-five-children-gaza-say-they-are-living-depression-grief-and 
  17. Save The Children. (2022). Trapped: The Impact of 15 years of blockade on the mental health of Gaza’s children. https://resourcecentre.savethechildren.net/pdf/gaza_blockade_mental_health_palestinian_children_2022.pdf/
  18. Sherwood, H. (2023, October 22). Children in Gaza ‘developing severe trauma’ after 16 days of bombing. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/oct/22/children-in-gaza-developing-severe-trauma-after-16-days-of-bombing 
  19. UNESCO. (2023). Gaza: UNESCO calls for an immediate halt to strikes against schools. UNESCO. https://www.unesco.org/en/articles/gaza-unesco-calls-immediate-halt-strikes-against-schools 
  20. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. “Back to school: 1.3 million Palestinian children in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are returning to school during a tumultuous year.” ochaopt.org August 21, 2023.  http://www.ochaopt.org/content/back-school-13-million-palestinian-children-west-bank-and-gaza-strip-are-returning-school-during-tumultuous
  21. UNRWA. (2023). THE GAZA STRIP: UNRWA SCHOOLS SHELTERING DISPLACED PEOPLE CONSTANTLY. UNRWA. https://www.unrwa.org/newsroom/official-statements/gaza-strip-unrwa-schools-sheltering-displaced-people-constantly-hit
  22. Wispelwey, B. W., & James, Y. A. J. (2020). The Great March of Return. Health and Human Rights Journal, 22(1), 179–186. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/26923484
  23. World Health Organization: WHO. (2022, June 17). Mental healthhttps://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-strengthening-our-response

International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

Written by Benjamin Koponen, Caren Thomas & Zina Sabbagh

Palestine’s Educational Landscape

Amid the recent escalations in Gaza, Bisan Owda, a journalist from the area, begins most of her interviews by acknowledging her survival. Her words echo the harrowing reality. “There is no place safe in Gaza.” – wizard_bisan1, Instagram, 2023

The devastating impact on educational institutions underscores this stark truth. Over 200 schools have been ruthlessly damaged, bombed, or entirely razed in this small geographic region.i Shockingly, this accounts for almost 40% of the total number of schools in the Gaza Strip.

UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) facilities and schools, which are considered a protected establishment by international law and the global community, no longer carry the assurance of safety.ii The reality became painfully evident with the bombing of Al Fakhoura UNRWA school, a widely recognized establishment in northern Gaza, on November 19th.iii At the time, over 7,000 individuals, including teachers, students, families, and the elderly, sought refuge within its walls. In an instant, this sanctuary, an educational institute that helped dreams and hopes to become a reality, was destroyed.

Photo by Luke White on Unsplash

Delving deeper into Palestinians’ challenges within the educational sphere offers a clearer picture of their struggles. Palestinian secondary education comprises three primary sectors: Private schools, public schools, and UNRWA schools specifically established for Palestinian refugees.iv These institutions adhere to the standardized Palestinian Curriculum set by the Palestinian Government. An intriguing aspect to note is the continuous scrutiny and censorship imposed by the Israeli Government on the standardized Palestinian Curriculum.v The Israeli authorities restrict detailed information about Palestinian heritage, culture, and history.vi

Additionally, the very depiction of a map outlining the borders of Palestine is consistently banned. This forces the Palestinian curriculum to be extremely flexible because continuous changes are happening to it.vii Moreover, both students and teachers face numerous obstacles in accessing schools. Throughout the West Bank, checkpoints present a significant hindrance, impeding the transit of individuals to educational institutions. Similarly, in Gaza, the frequent bombings further increase the challenges faced by students and educators in their pursuit of education viii.

Another obstacle that the secondary educational sector faces is funding. A report by the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) mentioned that around US$3.55 million would be required to repair the damages to school facilities from the aggression that happened in May 2021.ix Due to the Israeli Military Occupation, the economy of the Palestinian Authority is severely hindered. Thus, the educational sector heavily depends on donations and aid from the international community, primarily the UN.x However, since 2016, the aid for the UNWRA schools has been radically decreasing due to changes in the political arena.xi

Gaza’s schools consist of 284 UNRWA facilities out of 561 schools due to the high population of refugees from neighbouring villages that got destroyed.xii Therefore, many of these schools lack the infrastructure, classes, and materials to function properly; however, they are still prospering and using as much material as they can to operate at their best capacity. Even when the students surpass all of these difficult challenges, when they want to pursue higher education outside of Gaza, they are denied permits from Israel, thereby confining them in Gaza.

Concerning education, there are numerous tactics employed by the Israeli Occupation that exacerbate these hardships. Even if there was an end to the destruction and war against Gaza, the trauma and PTSD faced by students, teachers, and other individuals will take generations to process, heal, and fully recover.

Photo by Austin Crick on Unsplash

Mental Health of Palestinian Children

Mental health is a delicate prism through which human beings understand themselves and the world around them. This prism is ymbolizezed by peoples’ ability to manage stress, nurture their talents, learn/work effectively, and support their community.xiii These resilience strategies are not coping mechanisms of living through trauma but allow people to move past setbacks and grow as individuals. However, traumatic incidents in childhood–such as warfare–can induce levels of stress which surpass the efficacy of healthy coping mechanisms. The continued bombing, displacement, and occupation of Gaza/West Bank has increased anxiety, depression, and PTSD amongst local Palestinian children.

Since October 7th, the IDF has killed approximately 11,320 Palestinian civilians.xiv These include 4,650 children and 3,145 women, leaving 29,200 injured and 3,600 unaccounted for (of which 1,755 children).xv Twelve years ago, Dimitry found that “conflict-related traumatic experiences correlate positively with prevalence of mental, behavioural and emotional problems”.xvi

As far back as 2011, approximately 23% to 70% of children were reported to suffer from PTSD.xvii Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a prolonged mental/physiological response to extremely tense experiences. For Palestinian children, exposure to terrorist attacks, being displaced from one’s homes, violent abuse, and witnessing daily humiliation force them into survival mode.xviii

Maintaining a daily routine is integral to ensuring children’s mental health. However, the destruction of schools, homes, and regular displacement produce an unpredictable environment. It has been noted that the persisting nature of Israeli occupation eliminates civilians (especially children) a moment to heal.xix As a result, they are thrown into a constant state of traumatic stress. In 2022, 90% of children experience separation anxiety from parents, over 50% have pontificated suicide, and 59% experience reactive mutism.xx Furthermore, the Guardian has reported that children are also experiencing sleeping difficulties.xxi However, children have developed strategies for responding to these post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) in different ways. These include active exposure to traumatic events and political resistance as trauma responses to political violence.

Palestinian youth–often young men and boys– have been known to hold peers who have been beaten/imprisoned with respect.xxii In this way, they transform the fear of persecution into courage. In contrast, young Palestinian women and girls are more likely to express PTSS through anxiety and depression.xxiii These characteristics align with the gendered expectations of boys/girls in the Middle East. Unsurprisingly, young men and boys who engage in these behaviours demonstrate more PTSS than their female counterparts.xxiv Active exposure to trauma is deeply interconnected to resistance as a trauma response.

Wispelwey & Jamei demonstrate that political activism, specifically the Great March of Return (GMR), can provide “a positive impact on community mental health via a sense of agency, hope”.xxv The GMR, a series of demonstrations initiated in March 2018, was meant to ymbolize Palestinians’ right to return to their homeland (enshrined by UN Resolution 194). The GMR adopted a cultural/celebratory atmosphere filled with dancing, food, and chanting. Protesters met the IDF’s militaristic response–dispensing tear gas and sniping into the crowd–with an entrenched feeling of agency to shape their political reality.xxvi

The desperate state of children’s mental health in Palestine is entangled with the reality of Israeli occupation. Anxiety is not an irrational response to warfare. Depression is not an irrational response to a lack of opportunities. These are psychological symptoms of decisions made by political leaders. In a letter published by Save The Children, 6 Palestinian children–Salma, Niveen, Zain, Samer, Khaled and Amal outlined their wishes; “The first thing we wish is that the war would end…We hope that all the destroyed buildings will be cleared away and something better and more beautiful will come in their place”.xxvii Medical care, infrastructure, and community support will be integral to healing. A ceasefire is the first step in this healing process.

Deprivation of resources for students in Palestine

At the beginning of the year 2023, the United Nations recorded at least 423 incidents impacting Palestinian children and their education. This includes the firing by Israeli forces on schools and children conducting operations and demolishing schools.xxviii The Gaza’s Ministry of Educationxxix has suspended the school year 2023-2024. Due to the indiscriminate bombing of Gaza, schools in the Strip are being used as “safe spaces” for the Palestinians. However, even the schools have been targeted by Israeli bombing.

Currently, schools run by UNRWA – the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees – have been targeted numerous times by Israeli attacks.xxx These schools are supposed to be considered as secure zones during an armed conflict. However, what we’re witnessing in Gaza is the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians, particularly children. This targeting of those seeking refuge in schools ultimately leads to the death and injury of many civilians. It leads to the disruption of education due to the loss of resources that occurs when an armed conflict targets schools and other educational institutions.

Defense for Children International – Palestine, who are winners of the Rafto Prize, 2023, in their ‘Child in War, 2022 reportxxxi had mentioned that Palestinian children have expressed that they do not want financial assistance from the international community. Instead, the children would like to be protected from the searches that take place during checkpoints and attacks that take place at school. Furthermore, child human rights defenders from Palestine were given the chance to partake in meetings with international human rights bodies, but no heed was given to address the needs of the children. The ground reality continues to remain the same.

The Gaza Strip continues to witness armed conflict, causing colossal damage to infrastructure and other educational resources. A child is supposed to be in school for education but now goes to school with their families for potential shelter from the bombings. The number of schools damaged is at least 300 schools and 183 teachers have reportedly been killed.xxxii Additionally, the Israel blockade of water, food, medical supplies, electricity and fuel imposes grave risks on the access to resources for these children.

A gap in the child’s education that has occurred due to conflict, coupled with the absence of psychosocial support, may leave many children feeling hopelessly behind. The situation in Gaza requires the people to rebuild their schools, sanitation and other educational resources. The people need to find ways to accommodate temporary learning spaces, obtain support from the international community to rebuild their educational systems and, most importantly, find teaching staff equipped to understand the fractured environment of these young minds. Education is extremely crucial in this heart-wrenching environment as it offers the backbone and potential freedom to overcome some of the difficulties faced by these Palestinian children.

While countless international laws and mechanisms are in place, enforcing them has been an ineffective process mainly due to minimal international intervention. It is unequivocally evident that the Israel attacks on Palestine are a mockery of international humanitarian law.

We leave our readers with these questions.

When does education, a fundamental human right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, cease to be a distant luxury for the children of Palestine?

When does a child of Palestine stop being a “child of war” and embrace a life of positive learning, growth and happiness?


References

i UNESCO. (2023). Gaza: UNESCO calls for an immediate halt to strikes against schools. UNESCO. https://www.unesco.org/en/articles/gaza-unesco-calls-immediate-halt-strikes-against-schools

ii UNRWA. (2023). THE GAZA STRIP: UNRWA SCHOOLS SHELTERING DISPLACED PEOPLE CONSTANTLY. UNRWA. https://www.unrwa.org/newsroom/official-statements/gaza-strip-unrwa-schools-sheltering-displaced-people-constantly-hit

iii Al Jazeera. (2023). Many killed in Israeli attacks on two schools in northern Gaza. Al Jazeera. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/11/18/israeli-forces-strike-al-fakhoora-school-in-northern-gaza

iv Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. (2023). Schools Placement Around Palestine. https://www.pcbs.gov.ps/Portals/_Rainbow/Documents/Basic_Schools_ar.html

v Al Jazeera Net. (2017). Accusing the Palestinian curriculum of incitement against Israel. Al Jazeera Net. https://www.aljazeera.net/news/presstour

vi Al Jazeera Net. (2004). Israeli Efforts to Change the Palestinian Educational Curriculum جهود إسرائيلية محمومة لتغيير مناهج التعليم الفلسطينية. Al Jazeera Net. https://www.aljazeera.net/news

vii Palestinian Ministry of Education. (2023). Sectoral strategy for education. https://www.moe.pna.ps/category/content/1036

viii Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates. (n.d.). Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates. State of Palestine Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates. http://www.mofa.pna.ps

ix Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack. (2022). Measuring the Impact of Attacks on Education in Palestine. https://protectingeducation.org/wp- content/uploads/impact_attackeducation_palestine_2022_en.pdf

x Palestinian Ministry of Education. (2023). Sectoral strategy for education. https://www.moe.pna.ps/category/content/1036

xi BBC News. (2018, January 17). UN alarmed as US cuts aid to Palestinian refugee agency. BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-42717333

xii Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. (2023). Schools Placement Around Palestine. https://www.pcbs.gov.ps/Portals/_Rainbow/Documents/Basic_Schools_ar.html

xiii World Health Organization: WHO. (2022, June 17). Mental health. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-strengthening-our-response

xiv Anadolu staff. (2023, November). Gaza death toll soars to 11,320 amid relentless Israeli attacks, including 4,650 children. aa.com. https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/gaza-death-toll-soars-to-11-320-amid-relentless-israeli-attacks-including-4-650-children/3053701#

xv Anadolu staff. (2023, November). Gaza death toll soars to 11,320 amid relentless Israeli attacks, including 4,650 children. aa.com. https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/gaza-death-toll-soars-to-11-320-amid-relentless-israeli-attacks-including-4-650-children/3053701#

xvi Dimitry, L. D. (2011). A systematic review on the mental health of children and adolescents in areas of armed conflict in the Middle East. Child: Care, Health and Development38(2), 153–161. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2214.2011.01246.x

xvii Dimitry, L. D. (2011). A systematic review on the mental health of children and adolescents in areas of armed conflict in the Middle East. Child: Care, Health and Development38(2), 153–161. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2214.2011.01246.x

xviii Dimitry, L. D. (2011). A systematic review on the mental health of children and adolescents in areas of armed conflict in the Middle East. Child: Care, Health and Development38(2), 153–161. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2214.2011.01246.x

xix Agbaria, N., Petzold, S., Deckert, A., Henschke, N., Veronese, G., Dambach, P., Jaenisch, T., Horstick, O., & Winkler, V. (2020). Prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder among Palestinian children and adolescents exposed to political violence: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLOS ONE16(8), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0256426

xx Sherwood, H. (2023, October 22). Children in Gaza ‘developing severe trauma’ after 16 days of bombing. The Guardianhttps://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/oct/22/children-in-gaza-developing-severe-trauma-after-16-days-of-bombing

xxi Save the Children International. (2022, June 15). After 15 years of blockade, four out of five children in Gaza say they are living with depression, grief and fearhttps://www.savethechildren.net/news/after-15-years-blockade-four-out-five-children-gaza-say-they-are-living-depression-grief-and

xxii Agbaria, N., Petzold, S., Deckert, A., Henschke, N., Veronese, G., Dambach, P., Jaenisch, T., Horstick, O., & Winkler, V. (2020). Prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder among Palestinian children and adolescents exposed to political violence: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLOS ONE16(8), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0256426

xxiii Wispelwey, B. W., & James, Y. A. J. (2020). The Great March of Return. Health and Human Rights Journal22(1), 179–186. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/26923484

xxiv Agbaria, N., Petzold, S., Deckert, A., Henschke, N., Veronese, G., Dambach, P., Jaenisch, T., Horstick, O., & Winkler, V. (2020). Prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder among Palestinian children and adolescents exposed to political violence: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLOS ONE16(8), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0256426

xxv Wispelwey, B. W., & James, Y. A. J. (2020). The Great March of Return. Health and Human Rights Journal22(1), 179–186. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/26923484

xxvi Save The Children. (2022). Trapped: The Impact of 15 years of blockade on the mental health of Gaza’s childrenhttps://resourcecentre.savethechildren.net/pdf/gaza_blockade_mental_health_palestinian_children_2022.pdf/

xxvii Save The Children. (2022). Trapped: The Impact of 15 years of blockade on the mental health of Gaza’s childrenhttps://resourcecentre.savethechildren.net/pdf/gaza_blockade_mental_health_palestinian_children_2022.pdf/

xxviii United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. “Back to school: 1.3 million Palestinian children in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are returning to school during a tumultuous year.” ochaopt.org August 21, 2023. http://www.ochaopt.org/content/back-school-13-million-palestinian-children-west-bank-and-gaza-strip-are-returning-school-during-tumultuous

xxix Middle East Monitor. “Amidst the bombing, school year suspended in Gaza.” middleeastmonitor.com November 6, 2023. https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20231106-amidst-the-bombing-school-year-suspended-in-gaza/

xxx Mhawish, Mohammed R. “‘Why bomb schools?’ Gaza families have no safe space amid Israeli attacks”. aljazeera.com October 10, 2023. https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2023/10/10/why-bomb-schools-gaza-families-have-no-safe-space-amid-israeli-attacks

xxxi Defence for Children International. “Children affected by armed Conflict.” defenceforchildren.org 2022. https://defenceforchildren.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Children-and-Armed-Conflict-Report.pdf

xxxii Becker, Jo. “Israel/Gaza Hostilities Take Horrific Toll on Children.” Human Rights Watch. November 22, 2023. https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/11/22/israel/gaza-hostilities-take-horrific-toll-children

Universal Periodic Review of New Zealand

This report drafted by Broken Chalk contributes to the fourth cycle of the Universal Periodic Review for New Zealand. This report focuses exclusively on human rights issues in New Zealand’s education field.

  • The education system of New Zealand consists of three levels. Early childhood education is from birth to school entry age. Primary and secondary education ranges from 5-19 years of age. Schooling is compulsory from ages 6-16. Once this is completed, students move to higher and vocational education.
  • Early Childhood Education (ECE) is not compulsory; however, it is attended by 96.8% of children. It is important to note that there are different types of ECE services.[i] The kind of learning that the children receive at an ECE service or Kōhanga Reo follows the guidance of the Te Whāriki curriculum framework.
  • The Te Whāriki curriculum framework has two pathways. Te Whāriki a te Kōhanga Reo is an indigenous approach which is deeply rooted in te reo Māori for Te Kōhanga Reo. Te Whāriki Early Childhood Curriculum is a bicultural framework for early childhood services. Both frameworks are distinct and hold equal significance in their respective contexts.[ii]
  • Te Kōhanga Reo entails a Māori immersion environment for tamariki and their whanau. It caters to tamariki from birth to school age.[iii]
  • Education is free in schools across all government-owned and funded grades. This free education is applicable if you are a New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident.
  • In the Māori medium of education, students are taught at least 51% of the education in Māori language. In English-medium schools, students learn te reo Māori as a language subject. The Māori language is also used in English-medium schools for teaching curriculum subjects up to 50% of the time. The English-medium schools follow the New Zealand Curriculum, whereas the Māori-medium schools follow a curriculum based on Māori philosophies.[iv]

By Caren Thomas

Download the PDF.

46th_Session_UN-UPR_Country_Review_New_Zealand_S

References

[i] Ministry of Education. “Education in New Zealand.” Accessed September 25, 2023. https://www.education.govt.nz/our-work/our-role-and-our-people/education-in-nz/#Early

[ii] Te Whāriki Online. “Te Whāriki Online”. Accessed September 25, 2023. https://tewhariki.tki.org.nz

[iii] Ministry of Education. “For parents and whānau.” Accessed September 25, 2023.  https://parents.education.govt.nz/early-learning/early-childhood-education/different-kinds-of-early-childhood-education/

[iv] Ministry of Education. “Education in New Zealand.” Accessed September 25, 2023. https://www.education.govt.nz/our-work/our-role-and-our-people/education-in-nz/#Early

Cover image by Ronnie Macdonald on Flickr.

The Profound Influence of Teachers on Humanity

Written by Caren Thomas

Teachers embody elements of creativity, sacrifice and selfless service. This allows them to influence individuals into those who create a positive change for society. The education imparted by teachers goes beyond the textbook knowledge. Through education being imparted in the rightful manner, we will be able to reduce conflict, prejudice and poverty. Recognising the role of teachers as educators, mentors, and role models requires us to prioritise their well-being and professional development. Teachers play a pivotal role in having a society characterised by innovation, creativity and progress.  

This year, for World Teachers’ Day, the theme UNESCO will focus on is “The teachers we need for the education we want: The global imperative to reverse the teacher shortage”. Advocating for the teaching profession to be treated with dignity, promoting inspiring practices by other teachers which can be inculcated with the rest of society, analysing the challenges faced by teachers in varied settings, ensuring that efficient steps are taken to retain and motivate teachers are requirements that necessitate prompt attention.

Recent data from UNESCO tells us that 44 million is the number of teachers required to meet the goal of providing primary and secondary education for all students by 2030. The primary source of the problem is the need for more funding for these teachers. This is coupled with the need for more value, training and support given to the profession. It creates a dismal atmosphere for the teachers who remain in the profession and does not motivate other talented candidates to pursue it. COVID-19 was a massive setback for the teachers as they were unprepared and underequipped to face such a challenge. We must reflect on the support necessary to function to their best potential. Their talent and vocation can only be further developed if we are to rethink how to enrich this profession globally.

The ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers (1966) and the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel (1997) are two important Recommendations that highlight teachers’ indispensable role in humanity. Countries are urged to consider these recommendations and implement them to uplift the position of teachers and other educators.

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Teachers are the beacons for transforming education. The UNESCO-Hamdan Prize for Teacher Development awards three laureates every two years with prize money for innovative practices that focus on enhancing the quality of teaching and learning worldwide. The Varkey Foundation also awards the prestigious Global Teacher Prize in collaboration with UNESCO and in partnership with Dubai Cares, a UAE-based global philanthropic organisation. It is awarded to a teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the teaching profession. Past winners of this award, namely Keishia Thorpe (2021) and Ranjitsinh Disale (2020), hold inspirational qualities and provide a mould for overcoming challenges within the teaching environment. Their noteworthy contributions highlight the sacrifice, solicitude and sincerity teachers make for humanity’s betterment.

Teachers play a crucial role in establishing a positive influence in the lives of many individuals from the ground up. The efforts put in by the teachers go much beyond the four walls of the classroom. Teachers lay the foundation for the growth and development of young minds. A thirst for knowledge is inculcated among the students because of them. They have been instrumental in helping build peace among young people across conflict zones and reducing child marriages in many parts of the world. These are some significant triumphs teachers have been able to achieve. Teachers play a fundamental role in breaking barriers, making ethical choices and growing into responsible global citizens upholding values of empathy, equality and tolerance.

Featured image by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Educational challenges faced by refugee children in Turkey

Written by Caren Thomas

Refugees are those who have a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. Experiencing such fears in early childhood will critically impact a child’s cognitive, social, emotional and physical development.

As articulated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, children have specific rights. These include principles of protection from harm, provision of basic needs, recognition and participation of children as rights holders. 

Through the Temporary Protection Regulation passed in 2014, Syrian refugees are provided specific protection to specific rights, including education, shelter, food, water, housing, social security mechanisms and the labour market.

Via the 2015 EU-Turkey joint action plan, both sides aim for enhanced educational opportunities across all levels and a commitment to assisting the host nation, Turkey, particularly in aspects like infrastructure and various services.

In 2018, the Global Compact on Refugees set a goal that governments should be in a position to include refugee children and youth in the national education systems within the time period of three months of displacement.

The earthquake in February 2023 inflicted additional distress upon refugees and other displaced children in Turkey, particularly impacting their access to education.

Education is a fundamental entitlement for every refugee and individual seeking asylum. Turkey is facing a significant influx of asylum seekers and is also a host to a substantial refugee population, a majority composed of Syrians. Unfortunately, these refugee children are unable to access education due to their circumstances. The existing educational framework for refugees in Turkey is burdened with numerous difficulties and obstacles.

Photo by Julie Ricard on Unsplash.

Documentation

Many enrol in Turkish schools after obtaining an international protection identification document bearing the foreigner identification number. The tuition fee waiver announced by the council of ministers only applies to students from Syria. Turkish classes are offered at Public Education Centres free of charge. For this, the international protection identification document is required. However, if insufficient persons are enrolled, said classes may not commence on the requested enrolment date.

Individuals hailing from Syria are eligible to enrol in Temporary Education Centres, whereas refugees and asylum seekers from different nations are exclusively permitted to register at Turkish public schools. Temporary Educational Centres are schools which provide educational services for persons arriving in Turkey for a temporary period. These were initially staffed by Syrian volunteers who UNICEF and other NGOs financially compensated. As per the Ministry of National Education, a considerable proportion of the refugee children were out of school in 2019. However, there has been a substantial decline in the number of children not attending since the initial years of the Syrian refugee crisis. As of  2017, the Turkish authorities have been implementing measures to integrate Syrian refugees into the country’s public education system.

Statelessness within the Syrian population residing in Turkey presents a notable issue. Challenges persist due to factors such as the lack of proper civil documentation, difficulties in acquiring birth certificates in Turkey, and the citizenship regulations of Syria. Notably, Syrian nationality can only be inherited by a child from their mother if the birth occurs within the borders of Syria.

Within Turkey, if the mother’s relationship with a Syrian or Turkish father is unestablished or unclear, then the child faces the risk of statelessness. An absence of Turkish citizenship or permanent residency leads to them being guests within the country and failing to be integrated into Turkish society.

While Turkey is a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, it has submitted a request for geographical limitation. Consequently, individuals such as Syrians and those arriving from various other nations are ineligible for complete refugee status in Turkey. Alternatively, they are registered under the “temporary protection” regulation.

This Temporary Protection Regulation allows refugees access to essential resources such as healthcare and education. Once the refugees are registered under the Temporary Protection Regulation, they are required to remain within that province.

Additional issues arise from the lack of recognition of temporary and international protection status in 16 provinces across Turkey. The reduction of 25% to 20% foreign population within a given neighbourhood continues to cause significant issues. Finding jobs becomes a difficulty since the individual is forced to look for jobs only in the area the individual is registered in, thereby limiting the job opportunities that may be available to them in other places, such as Istanbul.

A recurring trend observed worldwide is that during times of crisis, the education sector is frequently the first to be halted and the last to be reinstated. It is crucial to be have access to education regardless of whether you are an international protection applicant or status holder or if you plan to resettle in another country or go back to your country. It helps the children develop skills, stability as well as  integrate them socially and academically into the education system.

Language barriers

In a study conducted, it was seen that the main problem was that of language. The employed teachers did not speak Arabic, and the children, in this case, did not speak Turkish. There are no activities carried out within the classroom setting to facilitate their learning. There is no varied material brought in to help aid their understanding. Teachers need to be provided with vocational training to better facilitate the learning process for refugee children through teaching strategies and teaching aids.

The teachers have little to no awareness on these refugee children, not just from an educational point of view but also on a psychological level. A majority of these students have been subjected to post-traumatic stress disorder, primarily due to the conditions they are coming from.

The children’s communication barrier furthers the issue within education. When the refugee children are put with other students who can speak the Turkish language, they are often subject to mockery, lack confidence and isolation due to the language barrier.

Syrian children and youngsters attending informal education and integration courses at Relief International communıty centre.
Photo by: EU/ECHO/Abdurrahman Antakyali , Gaziantep.

Familial background and trauma

In a gender analysis carried out in 2019 to explore the Syrian refugee journey with a focus on the difficulties encountered by refugees in Turkey, it was observed that a notable portion of Syrian refugee children were not attending school. Among those who were in school, there were elevated levels of trauma. This significantly undermined the educational advancement of these children.

Children were initially not sent to schools since parents felt their stay in the country where they sought asylum would be temporary. However, once the families realised the permanency of their residency in Turkey, the enrolment rate in schools by refugee children steadily increased.

Research has consistently shown the positive effects of education on children who experience post-traumatic stress and develop coping and resilience skills. This can prove particularly helpful and effective for refugee children in the long run.

However, despite the positive impact education has, it comes with complications. An unstable or unsupportive home environment hinders a smooth educational process for these children and impacts the quality of education.

Refugee families typically find themselves having lost all they had. This, alongside  the financial strain, forces their children into early marriage, leading them to drop out of school. Worth mentioning, is that in 2020 there was a drop in boys attending school. It was seen that reasons such as sending children to work due to augmented economic hardship were one of the reasons to withdraw boys from schools.

Decline in services

Natural disasters, epidemics and wars spare no children. Turkey was gripped by conflict following Covid-19 and the earthquake in February 2023. Refugee children are often subject to poverty, poor living conditions, minimal access to safe drinking water, healthcare and food, as well as compelled to work owing to the unfavourable economic circumstances faced by the family, leading to the children being forced to neglect their education. The Conditional Cash Transfer for Education for Syrians and Other Refugees and the Promotion of Integration of Syrian Children into Turkish Education were seen as ways to address the economic barriers to enrolment and attendance.

These children have been victims of distressing experiences at a young age, such as the maiming and death of their near and dear ones. Due to the unstable environment, this results in a delay with their access to education. These children may end up receiving education in inadequate educational facilities, thus hindering their ability to fully grasp and unleash their full potential.

Racism and xenophobia

Instances of racist and xenophobic assaults have experienced a substantial rise as well. This has been further exacerbated by various politicians within the country. This continues to subject refugees from Syria and other places in constant danger throughout schools, homes and workplaces. Taking into consideration the duty Turkey has towards its refugees, especially as a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, the politicians, members of the government, policymakers, and other influential persons should make a conscious effort not to instigate animosity towards refugees within the country.

Teachers and other resource persons need to make a conscious effort to bring awareness among the children of the host state that discrimination, racism, bullying, and other such acts are unacceptable behaviour. The citizens or parents of the students of the host state also need to be made aware to end discriminatory treatment towards these refugee children and teach their children to be respectful towards their fellow peers. Basic language skills among refugee children would allow for both parties to have a basic level of interaction. If not, refugees will persist in grappling with the notable issue of being excluded and marginalized.

The host nation must actively strive to comprehend the challenges that refugees encounter within an educational environment, encompassing issues like bullying, discrimination, language barriers, and similar concerns. These factors impact the necessity of forging connections and fostering a sense of belonging.

Hatay, Turkey, 9 February 2023. Members of the UK’s International Search & Rescue Team continue working in coordination with other search and rescue teams looking for survivors. Photo by UK ISAR Team

February 2023 earthquake

The earthquake that struck the nation in February 2023 has exacerbated the challenges faced by refugees. Basic resources, such as education, are now inaccessible for children. Several schools are being repurposed as shelters for those affected by the earthquake.

UNICEF has managed to help 140,000 children with access to formal or non-formal education and has provided more than 260,000 children with access to mental health and psychosocial support. UNICEF and AFAD have played an active role in helping the Ministry of National Education with temporary education measures such as tents for catch-up classes and exam preparation. However, even UNICEF recognises the need for longer-term support needed for rebuilding and recovering the lives of these children and their families.

It is a common pattern that education, particularly for vulnerable groups, tends to be disregarded and relegated to a lower priority. This situation could potentially push these vulnerable children into engaging in child labor as a means of supporting themselves or their families during these challenging circumstances. The increase in bias and impoverishment persists among these Syrian refugees, and when combined with the restricted educational access, they find themselves compelled to work merely to sustain their livelihoods.

Conclusions

The hosting country should make efforts to guarantee the integration of displaced children, regardless of their specific classification as refugees, internally displaced persons, asylum seekers, or unaccompanied minors, into the local education system in their respective residential areas.

Considering the massive influx of migration that Turkey receives due to global humanitarian crises, it would be wise if Turkey took an active initiative not only in policy-making but in its implementation regarding the education situation for said displaced children.

Partners within the country as well as internationally should step up to help the Turkish authorities by equipping them with the required support in the form of financial aid, technical assistance, expertise in terms of teachers who have the talent to speak the relevant languages, subject knowledge and to be able to cater to the different kinds of difficulties that come with teaching children that are coming from volatile environments.

It’s important to acknowledge that a teacher tasked with educating refugee children, along with those who are internally displaced, asylum seekers, or unaccompanied minors, is instructing a group that faces challenges beyond what is typically encountered in a standard classroom setting.

These children may have disabilities from birth or due to violence in their countries, have seen family members and friends killed or injured, or have even been victims of sexual violence. It’s highly probable that their education might have been disrupted well before their arrival in the host country. As a result, teachers in these contexts need to possess not only strong teaching skills but also a profound understanding of their classroom environment and a sensitivity to the unique situations they are confronted with. This is a difficult challenge.

The host country and other partners assisting the host country must also be mindful of this fact while hiring teachers and other resource persons. Education, especially for refugees, is exceptionally beneficial for social restructuring and socioeconomic development. 

As the viability of the Turkiye Compact is under ongoing evaluation, particularly given the difficulties involved, its execution would notably contribute to supporting Turkey and enhancing the nation’s economy. Additionally, it would assist refugees in achieving greater self-sufficiency and decreasing their reliance on humanitarian aid funding.

Introducing a universally recognized certification system for these children would enhance the ease of educational transitions, if they were to occur. This system would facilitate enrollment, attendance, retention, progression, and completion, fostering a more inclusive, equitable, and high-quality education for both refugee children and youth.

Ignored, bullied, rejected and discriminated against are common words used to describe the experience of refugee children in schools. It is high time this narration and plight are changed. Turkey must uphold its treaty obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Convention against Torture and continue to uphold the principle of nonrefoulement. Ensuring education provides a robust platform for children to be emboldened and enrich their future.  It is an immense responsibility that should be shouldered by the state and non-state actors at the local, national and international levels to maximise all efforts to ensure a safe space for these children.

References

Indigenous Languages: An extinction of interwoven narratives

Written by Caren Thomas

The world is a mosaic of culture and diversity. However, there is a continuous depletion in the inclusion of indigenous languages within this mosaic. The way in which conversation revolves around indigenous languages shows us that universality continues to remain a mirage.

We need to recognise the beauty and enrichment that comes from these languages. It spreads awareness about the language, cultures and traditions. Indigenous languages inform us about a community that has been wiped from the face of the earth. Indigenous languages contain intricate threads that help weave together identities and histories. The presence of the rich cultural heritage and other vibrant expressions and traditional knowledge in the form of ancestral wisdom from these indigenous languages recognises the need to be preserved and revitalised.

Revival of what is lost helps develop identities of potential persons who belong to these communities and are unaware of the same. Society must realise that recognition and revival of indigenous languages go beyond linguistic diversity. Acknowledging these indigenous languages is a sign of recognising and respecting the presence of these otherwise unknown communities. Furthermore, it is a recognition of the rights and contributions of the people within these indigenous communities.

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples clearly indicates, particularly through Article 13, the right to languages as a right for indigenous peoples. Boosting this element among indigenous communities enhances their position in the political, economic, social and cultural spheres. This will be a step closer to ending all forms of discrimination and eliminating much of the oppression and marginalisation they encounter daily. All indigenous peoples are entitled to all human rights recognised under international law. It needs to be reaffirmed that there is no discrimination regarding the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples. 

Your language is a part of your identity, and eradication of this due to various circumstances, including but not limited to colonialism, forced assimilation, and the influence of other dominant languages, is a devastating blow to the overall growth of the individual and the concerned indigenous communities.

Revival of these indigenous languages is necessary for the upbringing and education of the children within these communities. This will also ensure it is in line with the rights of the child. This will also help achieve a cultural resurgence. However, there is a decline in the transmission of indigenous languages from one generation to the next generation. It may always remain a missing piece in the narrative.

How do we take this leap towards achieving universality regarding indigenous languages? As a society, we must establish worthwhile and sustainable solutions that future generations can carry out to avoid the further extinction of indigenous languages. Even though there are treaties and agreements, States must maintain a positive partnership with these indigenous peoples. Steps must be taken to encourage intergenerational transmission of Indigenous languages. This would help empower younger generations to reconnect with their ancestral background through their linguistic roots. This will ensure that these interwoven narratives will help create a leap towards universality and may flourish for years to come.

Photo by Ken Kahiri on Unsplash

Universal Periodic Review of Jordan

  • This report drafted by Broken Chalk contributes to the fourth cycle of the Universal Periodic Review for Jordan. This report focuses exclusively on human rights issues in the field of education in Jordan.
  • In the previous UPR cycle, Jordan received 226 recommendations, and it supported 149 recommendations. Some of these recommendations focused on the Sustainable Development Goal of “Quality Education”.
  • This report first explores the main issues in the educational field in Jordan, reflecting on the recommendations Jordan received in the 3rd cycle UN UPR review in 2018 and its progress since. Finally, Broken Chalk offers some recommendations to Jordan on further improving human rights in the educational field.
  • As per the letter by the High Commissioner to the Foreigner Minister, issues were raised explicitly for the right to education, which included making education accessible, particularly by ratifying human rights instruments, making education culturally acceptable, preventing marginalisation, making education accessible for those students in remote areas, promote tolerance and respect for religious diversity,  emphasis to be laid on non-discrimination focusing on inclusivity in education, particularly for women and other minority groups and persons with disabilities and ensuring educational rights are guaranteed to refugee children.
  • Jordan has continued its commitment to the right to education through the Jordan Declaration on Inclusion and Diversity in Education.

By Caren Thomas

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Cover image by Yazan Mahmoud Banihani