In advocacy effort for Shia children and their rights to education, the following statement is submitted by SRW to the 35th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva
Greetings esteemed colleagues and member states,
Right to education and raising children who are tomorrow’s peace builder are one of the priorities Shia Rights Watch. Violation to the right of education is and will cost the world not just economically but sustainability and development. Millions of children are denied access to education due to war or unrest in their counties.
Armed conflicts, wars, unrest and raids are affecting not just life of the children and young people, but their future as well. Children at war zones or ones living in areas where their security is constantly threatened are confronted with physical harm, violence, danger, exploitation, fear and loss. Many children are forced to flee and some witness the death of loved ones.
Children, those whom the future of humanity and development is relied upon, are living under poverty, face displacement, struggle emotionally, and most importantly are restricted from education.
Children of Syria and Yemen cannot attend school either because their schools were bombed, or their parents are fearful to send them to school as many children have been attacked, kidnapped or raped on their way to school. Shia children of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan live under fear of their governments or terror groups preventing them from full access to school and education.
In other parts of the world, such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Afghanistan, most Gulf counties, Shia children are forbidden from learning about their faith and culture. They cannot even identify as Shia since that will increase discriminations toward them by school and staff.
Young people who should be thriving, learning, experimenting and use imagination and creativity to build a better world are oppressed to the point that they live on day to day survival.
Shia Rights Watch calls on world leaders to protect education by criminalizing attacks, prohibiting the use of schools by armed groups, and working with schools and communities to preserve schools as centers for learning. It urged the international community to increase education funding including teacher training, books publications and mobile libraries for Shia communities.
Shia Rights Watch