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Education for Child Refugee in Indonesia

Do you ever imagine, what would happen if you don’t have any legal identity?

Losing an ID card might be a problem for us; we cannot open a bank account, apply for health insurance, or even check in to airports. These little things might be just a little disturbance in our daily life, and can be solved by a visit to police station. But, if no one will ever give it back to us, those little financial, health, and transportation issues will be a huge lifetime problem. And these are problems that every refugee struggled in.

Refugees cannot access their rights in their home country. Either unwilling or unable, the home country is not responsible for their well-being. That’s why they seek for asylum in other country.

Within the dispute of states’ obligations to solve refugee problems, child refugees often become a forgotten vulnerable group that their rights have to be fulfilled immediately. Every child in the world, including child refugees, has equal rights to grow up in an environment where their potential can be explored thoroughly.

One of the best interests of children to live up their potential is through education. Ever since Indonesia ratified United Nations’ Conventions on the Rights of the Child (CRC) 25 years ago, inclusive education for child refugees is not practiced in Indonesia’s public schools, especially for child refugees. Indonesia is failed to fulfill the rights of child refugees who are living in a dire situation without citizenship.

Even though Indonesia has not ratified the Refugee Convention, Indonesia government still has the obligation to provide education under the ratification of CRC. And it is quite disappointing if the governments still use the non-state party of Refugee Convention excuse and neglected child refugee.

Indonesia has every resource to fulfill the rights of education for child refugees, including coping with language barrier. The rule of inclusivity should be applied for everyone in this country to access free basic education. Not only education, inclusivity should be kept in mind when we are dealing with children rights in this country.

Providing child refugees’ needs for education does not mean we are neglecting Indonesian children education, but reflecting our respect for every child’s rights to access education in this noble land.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thank you SUAKA for bringing up these important points in your article. It is true that even though Indonesia has not signed the Refugee Convention, the nation still has obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child to provide access education. In particular, Article 28(a) says that (state parties shall) make primary education compulsory and available free to all. As supporters of inclusivity, we should all work together to identify issues and work at overcoming some of the barriers of refugee and asylum seeker children accessing local Indonesian education.

  2. iki aku #

    Now, in Aceh especially in Langsa District and East Aceh, children on the move can access to mainstream school. They come to school like Indonesian’s children from 07.30 till 10.00 learning anything with Indonesian Education Curricula (KTSP). Maybe this case will be address to Ministry of Education and Culture for all the mainstream school in Indonesia can accept children on the move and support any administration system for them (NISN, Certificate,etc).

    • That’s great news. Refugee children should have access for education. Education is a basic human right, it is written in the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, where Indonesia is the party of the convention and already ratified it, and the 1951 Refugee Convention.


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