CLCC Students at the Global Refugee ForumGlobal Refugee Forum - Geneva, Switzerland
2019 Global Refugee ForumAuthor: Ochan Leomoi, Graduate Student, York University - Toronto, Canada
The major themes in this article are learning, crisis, and the refugee forum.
In the Global Refugee Forum held in Geneva 13th-19th December 2019, a lot about education in crisis was presented and discussed by the dignitaries within such a short period of time. The interesting things which I learned in this conference are the strategy which the world is designing to mentor youth in taking leadership; the approach which the global elites are developing towards educating the world community by the year 2030; refugee involvement to participate in the development of the host country, which is the call for inclusivity in development regardless of political status; and above all, that the whole world is united to fight against any form of human rights violation.
I am satisfied that there are a lot of sympathizers who are wearing the shoes of the refugees and they are working for the best to end any form of conflict which a man can create, including an environmental change which displaces man from his home. I’ll report on the discussions and pledges made by different heads of states and dignitaries who represented their nations and organizations on refugees’ affairs. The discussions and pledges were squarely based on the Big 4 of the Global Compact on refugees. The delegates emphasized that those making pledges should take immediate action.
The main areas addressed in the conference were:
- Enhance refugees’ self-reliance: Delegates emphasized the needs and the importance of education as the best tool to open up the gate to self-reliance. The undertaking here is that quality education should be at the doorstep of each refugee child and their hosts, with the purpose of developing refugees’ competencies for self-reliance. At the same time, dignitaries pointed out that doors to tertiary education are now opened for refugee children to further their studies. Not forgetting Girl Child Education, delegates noted that there should be close monitoring of girls in schools as a matter of urgent action. In this regard, to minimize school dropout for girls, an online portal is created to help them cope with their studies. On the other hand, technical skills education was proposed as a better way to settle job security among the forcibly displaced persons. If refugees are trained in different skills, they will rely on themselves and at the same time play a greater role in developing the host country.
- Ease the pressure on host countries: Delegates confirmed that there is much need to support the countries hosting refugees so that the additional populations should not overwhelm the country’s resources. They noted that any project which is proposed to support refugees for self-reliance and resilience should also benefit host communities in order to foster positive relationships. Host countries have to think of including refugees in their social and economic activities, start viewing refugees from the mirror of development and allow them to exercise their economic talents side by side with their host counterparts. The safety of the refugees in the country of residence should be considered as equally important as that of the host citizens. Host countries need to allow refugees to interact freely with the communities around them so that they may deploy their skills and talents on the labor markets for the betterment of the country. No refugee child should be arrested because of his or her status. On this count, The Global Refugee Compact seeks to promote refugees’ autonomy in the country of residence and stands behind the rights of children. It also preaches the idea of sharing responsibility through concrete measures. This, therefore, facilitates the timely flow of refugee support to the host country and makes sure refugees are included in such benefits. Further, delegates found out that teachers in displacement are unfairly treated specially on salary payment and teacher training. In this regard, it is that quality training should be given to teachers that can use their knowledge within the government system for permanent employment. Delegates reiterated that refugees deserve to access health, livelihood opportunities, and education at the national level because these can lead to productive lives. UNESCO was concerned with displaced teachers’ pay and requested that enough money should be put into teachers’ salaries in order to motivate them. “Children in displacement schools are not performing well because their teachers are demoralized by the low payment,” It said.
- Expand access to third-country solutions (resettlement): In order to minimize refugees’ problems, overpopulation, and lifting some burdens from the second countries of asylum, a permanent solution such as resettlement in the third country should come in. Developed nations should have to open up their doors to welcome the forcibly displaced persons and resettle them. Though other developed countries never responded to this point, Germany for its part declared to support refugees through resettlement and education. “I have opened my door to receive more refugees this time than before,” Germany said.
- Support conditions in countries of origin for return in safety and dignity: “There is an urgent need to address the causes of conflict,” dignitaries said in the Geneva conference. The root causes of problems should be dealt with as the major concern if peace is desired. This was reiterated by the Pakistani Prime Minister when he was citing the cases of Rohingyas and the Indian Muslims who are living in India.
For Higher education, many states pledged to support refugee children through scholarships and sponsorships. Among those who made pledges are: Germany who has increased the fund for DAFI scholarships, Dubai Cares, World Bank, Open Society Foundation, Microsoft,
Mastercard Foundation, and others. It was undertaken that all pledges should be put into actions so that refugees and their hosts can progress in their studies.
*To read other stories from the 2019 CLCC Yearbook, click here.