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Ben Curtis / AP / ISOPIX | Ugandan teacher instructs young South Sudanese refugee children
Ben Curtis / AP / ISOPIX | Ugandan teacher instructs young South Sudanese refugee children

World Refugee Day: Education unions stand with refugee students and educators around the world

published 20 June 2022 updated 22 June 2022

As millions of refugees around the world face another year far from their homes, Education International continues to advocate for their rights and to ensure they are welcomed and treated with dignity and respect.

This year, on World Refugee Day, Education International is especially concerned with the plight of millions of refugees from Ukraine displaced by the Russian invasion. This war has had a devastating and brutal effect on children and their families and has violently disrupted the education system at all levels.

Education International is working closely with its affiliates in Ukraine to provide assistance to teachers and their communities impacted by the war. EI members from around the world are standing in solidarity with Ukraine and calling for peace and an end to the war.

At the beginning of May, Education International brought together education unions from Ukraine and neighboring countries, policymakers, and international organisations in order to step up collaboration and ensure that education continues for all students displaced by the war. Click here to download the report of the seminar.

Education International has also denounced the acts of racism and discrimination faced by African, middle eastern, and Asian students seeking to flee Ukraine as the war started. All displaced people must be treated with dignity regardless of nationality, race, ethnicity, religion or any other background.

“As educators and unionists, we stand for the rights and dignity of all migrants and refugees. Any act of discrimination towards those seeking safety is unacceptable. We call on governments to wholeheartedly support school communities who are welcoming students and families traumatised by war, persecution, scarcity, and climate change.”

David Edwards, EI General Secretary

“On World Refugee Day, education unions around the world unite with a renewed commitment to the rights of all displaced populations, and particularly children and students, teachers, education support personnel, researchers and education unionists,” he added.

Global turmoil of recent decades causing crises, conflicts, and wars, and the consequences of climate change worldwide, have led to millions of individuals fleeing their countries in search of safety and shelter.

Education International advocates for the rights of refugees and migrants on every continent and works with member organisations to ensure that every child, every student, every teacher who flees their home has a welcoming education community.

In Lebanon, a country facing multiple crises and hosting the highest number of refugees per capita in the world, Education International is working alongside its member organisations to ensure that education continues for all students. Following a recent mission on-site, EI has called for international solidarity to avoid the collapse of the country’s education system.

In Africa, through the BRICE/Education for Life project, Education International is working with its affiliate, the Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU), and international partners to improve the resilience of learners and teachers in South Sudan and Uganda. In Uganda, which hosts nearly 1.5 million refugees, efforts are underway to address issues affecting education and teachers in refugee settlement areas.

On June 21st, David Edwards will share insights from EI’s work on refugee education at a Brookings-Yidan Prize online event entitled “Ukraine and beyond: Lessons in refugee education”. Click here to register.

Teacher organisations will continue to lead the way in their countries and local communities to ensure that the right to education is delivered to newcomers, that this education is inclusive, and that the roles of all education personnel, also those amongst displaced persons, are recognised, valued and rewarded.

Click here to find out more about our work promoting the rights of migrants and refugees.