Educators will not let racial discrimination undermine refugees’ and migrants’ rights

To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Education International and its affiliates firmly reassert their commitment to provide teachers with classroom-ready material helping them to combat racism and xenophobia.

Every person is entitled to human rights without discrimination. This is a core belief for educators globally, who are also concerned that refugees and migrants are targets of racial profiling and incitement to hatred in too many countries.This position is being reaffirmed on the occasion of the 2017 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, that is dedicated to fighting and raising awareness against “Racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration”.

EI conference

These views were also aired at the Education International (EI) conference, “Providing education to refugee children: fast track to equal opportunities and integration”, held from 21-22 November 2016 in Stockholm, Sweden. Indeed, many of the recommendations concerning policies and strategies to ensure access to quality education to all refugee and migrant children focus on combating racism and xenophobia.


Delegates specifically recommended the development of a “curriculum that is critical, culturally sensitive and inclusive and includes training for educators to avoid biases” and of “classroom-ready material that may be used by teachers to combat racism and xenophobia including media awareness and critical thinking”. This was adopted because the conference participants from 46 different countries were convinced that education is central to empowering refugees.

Stressing the need to “ensure that teachers’ professional standards of practice preclude racist and xenophobic activities”, delegates also made recommendation about the development of a global citizenship curriculum across disciplines and at all grade levels. This curriculum would foster “empowerment, understanding of and active respect for human rights and for actions that lead to sustainable development as articulated in the Sustainable Development Goals”.

UN Member States’ commitments

Education International and its member organisations also urge governments to implement the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants adopted in September 2016. In this, United Nations’ Member States strongly condemned acts and manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance against refugees and migrants. And they committed to a range of measures to counter such attitudes and behaviours, particularly regarding hate crimes, hate speech and racial violence.

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