A new report from Human Rights Watch has highlighted that, despite significant efforts to enroll refugees in formal education, barriers still exist which have led to more than half of the 500,000 Syrian children in Lebanon being unable to enroll in an education programme. The S&D Group have continually called for more international funding to be focused on the education of refugee children.  The Group is calling on all actors to continue focusing on the Syrian crisis and the impact that refugees fleeing Syrian has on neighboring countries such as Lebanon.

S&D MEP Linda McAvan, chair of the European Parliament’s development committee said:

“Lebanon – a country of just 4.5 million – has done more than almost any other country to support Syrian refugees fleeing war and persecution. They have taken in over 1.1 million people, including 500,000 children. The humanity and generosity showed by the Lebanese people puts us Europeans to shame. However, dealing with this huge influx also causes serious problems – in particular in terms of integrating hundreds of thousands of children into Lebanese schools.

“This new study from Human Rights Watch shows that despite the efforts made so far, a majority of Syrian children are not receiving a formal education, in many cases due to administrative barriers that could be overcome. This supports what we have been saying for a long time – more needs to be done to ensure all children receive a good-quality education. They have already had their homes taken away; if they lose their education as well, they lose their chances for a meaningful future.”

S&D vice-president and standing rapporteur on humanitarian aid, Enrique Guerrero Salom MEP, said:

“It is imperative that we strengthen the protection of children and provide viable options for education whilst supporting and enhancing the capacity of Lebanon to deal with the fallout from the Syrian crisis. We need to work closely with the Lebanese authorities to ensure that the issues preventing children from accessing education are resolved. Support given to the education system is beneficial to all children, not only refugees, as it will help rehabilitate Lebanon’s struggling public school system and provide a quality education for all.

“The Socialist and Democrat Group will continue to push for greater resources to be made available to support education in conflict zones. We launched our EDUCA campaign last year to call for exactly this. We want to see the percentage of humanitarian aid spent on education doubled, from 2% to 4%. We will be calling on the Commission in the forthcoming EU budget negotiations and in coming months to make further efforts to work with the Lebanese and other authorities to help remove barriers to access to education and work towards providing quality education for all in the countries affected by the Syria crisis.”

Note to editors

More information on the S&D Group’s EDUCA campaign can be found here

The full Human Rights Watch report on Syrian refugees in Lebanon is available here.

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