Ei-iE

Resolution on: Protecting the Rights of Immigrant and Refugee Children and Young People

published 2019-09-25 updated 2019-09-25

The 8th Education International (EI) World Congress in Bangkok, Thailand, from 21 to 26 July 2019:

Notes that:

(1) Education and training are basic human rights and a public good. All children and young people have a right to free, inclusive and equitable quality public education and training, no matter where they are;

(2) All immigrant and refugee children and young people have the right to be free – and should not be held in detention facilities at all. Educators around the world demand the release of immigrant and refugee children and young people from detention facilities;

(3) All immigrant and refugee children and young people belong with their loved ones. It is intolerable and unlawful to separate families who sacrificed everything to escape persecution, conflict, violence, and human rights violations;

(4) All immigrant and refugee children and young people have the same rights that native students have in both transit and host countries and should have the same access to quality education;

(5) National government must end the use of private, for-profit detention facilities that benefit financially from mass incarceration and lengthy detention of immigrants and refugees. Educators around the world condemn in the strongest possible terms any attempt to divert public funds to private, for-profit detention facilities;

(6) Immigrant and refugee children and young people have the right to get medical care and education from health workers, educators, social workers, and other children and young people’s advocates while staying in reception centres and detention facilities;

(7) National education systems must include immigrant and refugee children and young people in all levels of national education regardless of their residence status or documentation. All schools should be inclusive, sensitive and responsive to the needs of immigrant and refugee children and young people. Curriculum and learning materials should reflect diversity of the student population and be developed with the full involvement of educators and their unions;

(8) National governments must protect immigrant and refugee children and young people from detention, separation from their loved ones, child labour, forced recruitment into armed groups, sexual exploitation, child marriage, and violence; and

(9) Education is the key to successful inclusion of immigrant and refugee children and young people in society. Educators should be given the means, the autonomy and support required to best respond to the needs of immigrant and refugee children and young people.

The 8th EI World Congress asks EI and its member organisations:

(10) To urge their Governments to address the migratory cycle in a comprehensive way (origin, transit, destination and return), with particular emphasis on the rights of boys, girls and adolescents;

(11) To pressure governments to adopt comprehensive human right-based policies to respect and promote rights of immigrant and refugee children and young people;

(12) To call on governments

(i) to end the detention and criminalisation of immigrant and refugee children and young people and their families;

(ii) to release immigrant and refugee children and young people from detention facilities immediately and to reunite them with their loved ones;

(iii) to provide families with children with better living and learning conditions in open residences;

(iv) to end the use of private, for-profit detention facilities and the conflicts of interest systemically embedded in these facilities that benefit from the mass incarceration and lengthy detention of immigrants and refugees;

(v) to provide free, inclusive and equitable quality public education to immigrant and refugee children and young people in available schools by certified educators preferably in the children and young people’s native language and with adaptive language instruction;

(vi) to provide training and support to educators in dealing with traumatised children and young people;

(vii) to secure the right of immigrant and refugee children and young people to health care, education and all other social and legal assistance while staying in reception centres and detention facilities;

(viii) to protect immigrant and refugee children and young people from child labour, recruitment into armed groups, sexual exploitation, child marriage, and violence;

(ix) to include immigrant and refugee children and young people in all levels of national education regardless of their residence status or documentation and on the same education tracks as native students;

(x) to provide additional support services to children and young people with disabilities and those with special needs such as psychological support, speech and language instruction;

(xi) to secure that all immigrant and refugee children and young people, included the unaccompanied minor asylum seekers, are treated as children up to the age of 18 and get the care, services and education that they need and are entitled to according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child;

(xii) to provide lifelong learning possibilities for refugees and migrants of every age, to be able to contribute to society; and

(xiii) to facilitate consultation and coordination between the many actors involved, starting from the perspective of education, in order to make an integrated and comprehensive approach possible.

(13) To advocate for reunification of immigrant and refugee children and young people and their loved ones and immediate placement of families in the least-restrictive environments, including access to free inclusive and equitable quality public education, social services, and legal support;

(14) To develop activities upholding the rights of immigrant and refugee children and young people in schools and communities; and

(15) To disseminate the EI toolkit “Promoting integration of migrants and refugees in and through education.”

Congress further mandates the EI Executive Board:

(16) To collect, publish and disseminate best practices on supporting the inclusion of immigrant and refugee children and young people into mainstream education systems and to spotlight governments’ negative actions impacting immigrant and refugee children and young people;

(17) To support member organisations replicating best practices on a systemic level, particularly in the field of professional development for educators teaching immigrant and refugee children and young people;

(18) To encourage United Nations (UN) agencies, governments and strategic partners to collaborate with education unions to identify or develop comprehensive programs for supporting immigrant and refugee children and young people; and

(19) To call on UN agencies to condemn policies of separating immigrant and refugee families, to demand immediate revocation of harmful policies, and to help ensure that those families have equal and effective access to justice and public services.