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Approximately 155,000 Syrian refugees are presently living in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). They are mainly aided by the local authorities of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and some international and local NGOs. The KRG authorities and those NGOs have located the Syrian refugees in the main cities Erbil,

 

Sulymaniya and Duhok of KRI. Due to the conflict in Syria, the number of refugees is increasing rapidly and daily, and the situation in Syria indicates that at least one million Syrian children refugees are scattered throughout the region. In the beginning of the conflict, the KRG local authorities in collaboration with international NGOs were able to respond to the needs of the refugees by providing them with basic services, protection, and assistance. Despite the massive influx of families, some of them decided to move to the main Kurdish cities but are confronting very difficult circumstances. The basic living conditions inside the camps are troubling; refugees face a new, hostile environment. The children are the most vulnerable population not only because of the lack of resources, education, and services, but also because of the impact of violence and war in their lives. The KRG authorities are focused on other key issues, ignoring the refugee children who are out of the circle of interest and policy. The refugee children need an immediate response and action to provide them with a basic, safe, and comfortable environment in which they can regain their physical, mental, and psychological health.

The KRG is short of resources and capacity to meet the huge needs of the refugee children (such as food, public services, healthcare, and education), to integrate them with the host community, and to build the bridges between them and the local community both in the camp and in the main cities, requiring the help of the international community to meet the refugee children’s needs.

Project Relevance

 

It is very important to build the local community’s capacity to meet its own needs, and to enable it to help the refugee children and make them feel safe and secure. Refugee children are suffering the most in the current crisis from the severe environment and cultural diversity and the most vulnerable in the Syrian armed conflict. Both the Declaration of the Rights of Child and the Convention of the Rights of the Child have to be respected for all Syrian children in the refugee camps by the local authorities that hold the main responsibility to fulfill those rights. The consequences of ignoring the needs of the children will have a short and long term impact on the whole society and region. It is said that investment in human development and education is one of the best paths to lead a society to prosperity, and it is well known that a future of unattended children who are victims of armed conflict could represent for the society an increase crime rates, instability, lack of social nets, insecurity among other issues. 

It is extremely urgent to create multi-disciplinary ways to achieve what is possible. With the help of experts in conflict resolution and impact recovery, child assistance practices can be developed where values can be taught to both refugee children and the host community in these camps.

On the other hand, documentation and information strategies could help to raise awareness of what Syrian children have faced and are still facing as well as their current living conditions. Further, raising global awareness, networking with identified organizations, and the use of different media outlets can draw attention to pressure on the local authorities to set and implement the necessary policies for the well-being of the children and encourage civil society institutions around the world to take the necessary actions and steps to meet the needs of the Syrian refugee children in the camps.

PRINCIPLES

This project shares the principles established by the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and from the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which specifically state that children need special attention in order to protect their rights because:

ü  Children are individuals. Children are neither the possessions of parents nor of the state.

 

ü  Children start life as totally dependent beings. Children must rely on adults for the nurturing and guidance they need to grow towards independence.

 

ü  The actions, or inactions, of government impact children more strongly than any other group in society. 

 

ü  Children's views are rarely heard and rarely considered in the political process.

 

ü  Many changes in society have a disproportionate, and often negative, impact on children, which is particularly devastating in situations of armed conflict and other emergencies.

 

ü  The healthy development of children is crucial to the future well-being of any society.

 

ü  The costs to society of failing its children are vast. Social research findings show that children's earliest experiences significantly influence their future development. The course of their development determines their contribution, or cost, to society over the course of their lives.

 

All expected outcome of the project will be directed towards fulfillment of the International Instrument of the Rights of the Child, especially those that consider the situation of refugee kids.

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