HRW: 400,000 Syrian Refugee Children Unable to Attend School in Turkey

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Syrian refugee children are seen during a lesson at Fatih Sultan Mehmet School, Ankara, Turkey, October 2, 2015.Credit: Reuters

Human Rights Watch says more than 400,000 Syrian refugee children in Turkey are not able to attend school despite a Turkish government move that allowed them access to the Turkish schooling system.

In a report released Monday, the U.S.-based rights group cited a language barrier, integration issues and financial difficulties as reasons for the poor attendance.

The group called on the international community to provide "urgent financial and technical support" for initiatives that would expand the children's access to an education.

Human Right Watch said: "Failing to provide Syrian children with education puts an entire generation at risk."

Turkey is host to more than 2 million refugees from Syria. Human Rights Watch says 708,000 are school-age children.

Last year, Turkey allowed Syrian refugees to attend Turkish public schools but just over 212,000 were enrolled at primary and secondary level schools, the rights group said.

The group said that while 90 percent of children of families living in refugee camps had enrolled in schools, most refugees live outside of camps where "only 25 percent of school-age children were enrolled in school."

The group said ensuring that the children go to school will reduce the risk of early marriages or military recruitment.

"While the Turkish government has been generous in its response toward the Syrian refugee crisis, Turkey has struggled to ensure that Syrian schoolchildren have the access to education to which they are entitled under international law," Human Rights Watch said.

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