Indonesia obliged to fulfill child refugees’ right to education: KPAI

27-Oct-2021 Intellasia | AntaraNews | 5:02 AM Print This Post

The Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) Commissioner for Education and Indonesia’s Foreign Refugee Task Force Retno Listyarti opined that Indonesia is obliged to fulfill the right to education for child refugees in the country.

“We can see the existing legal instruments both internationally and nationally concerning children’s rights to education, leisure, and cultural activities,” Listyarti noted in a written statement issued by the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) here on Tuesday.

Listyarti made the statement while speaking at a virtual seminar (webinar) titled “The Management of Child Refugees Handling in Indonesia.”

The webinar was organised jointly by six institutions: BRIN, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology; Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection; Jesuit Refugee Service Foundation; International Organisation for Migration Indonesia; and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Indonesia, which has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, is obliged to fulfill the rights of children recognised by the convention that generally provides protection and respect for children, according to Listyarti.

This ensures that children can avail their rights, including the right to education, so that they are kept farthest from acts of violence and neglect.

The Education Ministry’s Education Quality Assurance Board (LPMP) should be tasked with ensuring the fulfillment of the right to education for child refugees, she noted.

So far, most foreign child refugees in Indonesia have had access to study at both private and state-owned primary schools (SD) and junior high schools (SMP).

“However, for the high-school and vocational-school level, it is still very minimal, and it is only in private schools,” she stated.

Meanwhile, a representative from the Ministry of Law and Human Rights’ directorate of Immigration Cooperation, Oky Derajat Rizky, noted that the office had agreed to giving school children the opportunity to receive education in accordance with their respective levels.

However, he cited the lack of inclination to learn as well as the language barrier as challenges faced by child refugees for studying in Indonesia.

Rizky remarked that sometimes, children are not keen to learn and are not encouraged by their parents.

“Obstacles also exist in the language of instruction, both from the side of child refugees and teachers being unable to give lessons in English,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Indonesia’s representative to the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), Yuyun Wahyuningrum, noted that child refugees are entitled to all rights contained in the UNCRC, except the right to vote.

Wahyuningrum remarked that the Indonesian government, as the host country to formulate policies to prevent the detention of child refugees, ensures access to education up to advanced level, so that child refugees can live independently and conduct humanitarian activities as an implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Furthermore, Assistant deputy in charge of Protection of Children having Special Conditions of the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Elvi Hendrani noted that child refugees are included in the category of children in emergency situations. Hence, it is important for the state to make efforts to ensure basic protection for child refugees.

“Proper data collection will open the door for the Indonesian government to provide for the rights and needs of child refugees, including their rights to education and health services,” she noted.

Indonesia has been a transit point of quite many stranded refugees, mostly from Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Sudan, and Myanmar, intending to seek refuge or asylum in third countries, such as Australia.


Category: Indonesia

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