Dear colleagues; Sakine Esen Y?lmaz
Number : 2014/000/1500
Subject : Refugee children from Iraq and Syria
On behalf of E?itim Sen, we are highly worried about war lasted 3 years in Syria and assaults of terrorist organization called ISIS. Because of these wars; tens of thousands of people has been died, displaced and subjected to inhumane or degrading treatment. However, it is the fact that the real victims of these wars are children.
As you know; two countries hosted terrible assaults; Iraq and Syria; are neighbors of Turkey. According to research made by UNICEF, 5.090.000 children living inside and 1.475.061 children living outside Syria has directly affected from war since 2011. Millions of children have been living in dire situation without access to basic essentials. They are under threat of starvation, malnutrition, being injured and falling to diseases. In this process, all basic rights of children guaranteed by UN Conventions are violated. For instance, after ISIS took Sinjar; the settlement of Yazidi people; between 40 and 250 children who have managed to escape from terrorist organization have died from dehydration, starvation and heat.
ISIS has made genocide and massacres against non-Muslim and non-Sunni people in this region. Atrocity on different people and religions include beheading, execution and forced religious conversion. The future of Yazidi, Arab, Turk, Kurd, Chaldean, Assyrian and people from various origins, have been inhabited in Middle East for tens of hundred years, are threatened. Attacks targeted defenseless civilians, women and children will be nightmare of humanity. Jihadists of ISIS call for death, female genital mutilation, rape and child soldiers.
People who managed to escape from ISIS attacks want to be refugees in neighbor countries including Turkey. In order to cross borders, they have to risk their lives. If they can go to different countries, they face new problems as immigrants. According to UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency); there are 832.508 registered refugees in Turkey. However, we think that the exact number of migrated people from Syria and Iraq is more than registered ones; since there is not reliable data related to people come after attacks of ISIS in the recent period.
Majority of refugees in Turkey has been living outside camps. Both inside and outside of camps, they are facing various problems. The most important one is that Turkish Republic treats differently some people on the basis of their religions and ethnic origins. Kurdish people who come from Sinjar and Rojava, Christians and Assyrians are discriminated. Arabs and Sunnis have better conditions supported by state authorities.
We could not say that there are enough mechanisms in order to satisfy psychosocial needs of refugees in our country. They are open to all kinds of exploitation. Especially children are the biggest victims of this period. UNHCR declared that only 60 percent of children in camps and 27 percent outside camps go to school. In other words, majority of fleeing children are deprived of fundamental right of education. There are some schools established for them but the language of education is only Arabic. That's why pupils whose mother-tangue is other than Arabic or Turkish miss out on basic education. In Turkey, it is forbidden to give education in different languages in public schools. Almost half of migrated children could not have any chance to go to school since they don't know Arabic or Turkish. Moreover, with regard to statistics published by UNICEF one of every ten Syrian children becomes breadwinners. Number of child workers in Turkey is growing day by day. It is also the fact that many girls are subjected to exploitation. Some of them are sold as second wife illegally.
We are witnesses of all miserable results of war in our geography. On behalf of education and science workers in Turkey, we have been supporting mother-tongue based, equal, quality, public and free education right of all children. It is not acceptable to violate basic rights of neither fleeing nor native children. As an only representative of Education International in our country, we do not want to stay as only observers. Together with all members of EI, we want to protest wars and defend basic rights of refugee children.
We call everybody to protest wars and establish peace. We demand make joint actions for fleeing children whose basic rights are violated on a date which you offer with members of EI.
Please; send your proposals of date before 30 September 2014.
Sakine Esen Y?lmaz