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Millions in aid for out-of-school Syrian children missing: HRW Open in fullscreen

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Millions in aid for out-of-school Syrian children missing: HRW

There are fears Syrian children out of school are becoming a "lost generation" [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 September, 2017

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Human Rights Watch has called for greater transparency and monitoring of aid pledged to Syrian refugees as it finds large discrepancies in how much money is eventually received.

Millions of dollars in international aid money pledged to get Syrian refugee children in school last year are missing, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.

The rights group followed more than $1.4 billion, pledged at a conference in London in February 2016 by donors such as the EU and Germany to fund education in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, the three countries with the largest number of Syrian refugees, but found large discrepancies between the amounts donated and the reported sums that reached their intended targets in 2016.

More than 530,000 Syrian schoolchildren in those three countries were still out of school at the end of the 2016-2017 academic year, which HRW said is due to the lack of timely, transparent funding.

"Donors and host countries have promised that Syrian children will not become a lost generation, but this is exactly what is happening," said Simon Rau, from HRW.

"More transparency in funding would help reveal the needs that aren't being met so they could be addressed and get children into school."

Donors and the refugee-hosting countries agreed at the London conference to enroll all Syrian refugee children in "quality education" by the end of the 2016-2017 school year – and to provide the needed funds.

But different aid-tracking mechanisms reported substantially different amounts of education aid, and most public information was too vague or unclear to trace funding to a host country, HRW said.

Of the education funding that was sent, much did not arrive until after the start of the school year – too late to enroll the children.

For example, donors agreed to provide about $250 million for education in Jordan and $350 million for Lebanon in 2016. But by early September 2016, Jordan faced a $171 million shortfall, Lebanon $181 million. By the end of the calendar year, Jordan still had a $41 million budget gap, and Lebanon $97 million.

Donors and host countries have promised that Syrian children will not become a lost generation, but this is exactly what is happening.

HRW has called for more comprehensive information on education aid to assess whether donors have met their pledges and provided aid at the right time, and whether the activities being funded address obstacles to get Syrian refugee children back to school

"Despite global concern about Syrian refugee children, it is still impossible to find answers to basic questions about whether their key educational needs are being met," Rau said.

"Donors should fix the transparency deficit that is undercutting their own support for Syrian children, who cannot afford to wait any longer to get back into school."


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