Education and Displaced People: The Case of the Japanese Government Project to Assist Refugees

Education is a fundamental human right that everyone is entitled to enjoy. It is explicitly provided for in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as well as the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Displaced people are forced to leave their place of residence against their will for reasons of an armed conflict, racial, religious or other discrimination and persecution, political, economic and social disorder or a large-scale natural disaster. They include refugees as defined by the Convention and Protocol on the Status of Refugees, internally displaced persons, victims of an armed conflict or war and those who suffer serious damages from natural disasters. Because such displacements occur against the will of the people, many of their human rights are forgotten, ignored or violated in the course of displacement. Amongst various categories of human rights, the right to education is most likely to be forgotten and lightly-treated at the time of emergency such as displacement, because other needs, more directly connected to life, health and safety, are considered more urgent and require immediate attention. For this reason, emergency relief operations usually focus on life-saving activities involving the right to life, health and safety, and the right to education is easily put aside. However, the right to education is important and essential from a long-term viewpoint, from the relief stage to the recovery and development stages, and should be included from the early period of relief operations.

This keynote will focus on the purposes types of education, as well as the specific difficulties experienced by displaced people in obtaining adequate education. It will draw on an analysis of the Japanese government project to assist the resettlement of refugees in Myanmar to underline the importance of education for displaced people.

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Posted by IAFOR