Sunday, September 20, 2015

Immigrant Children Victory


By Stephen Wilson

(Moscow, Russia) -- The Human Rights Organisation Civil Action managed to arrange for the study in school of 40% of the children of parents of refugees and migrants who had appealed for their help. As many as 64 parents of refugee and migrants had previously complained that their children had been refused the right to study at schools. This was because of the notorious order number 32 which insists that children can't enter school without proper registration. However, this order so bluntly violates article 43 of the constitution where 'Everyone has the right to an education,' that some judges, politicians and headmasters have told people to ignore it.

            At the beginning of the new school year, civil right activists went around the school with a copy of a recent legal statement made by officials which basically acknowledged and approved of the right of headmasters or headmistresses of Russian schools to accept school children regardless of whether they had registration. 'After the court decision we took the resolution of the court to school. As a result, we managed to arrange for the study of 40% of the children of the parents who helped us' (The recent court resolution declared that registration could not be grounds for refusing children the right to an education), stated Civil Action spokesperson 'Anastasiya Denisova'. One such child  accepted at school recently was the 8-year-old daughter of Syrian refugee Nasser Kavthar at a school in Pushkino. This represents another small victory for the rights of the children of refugees and migrants who have constantly been deprived of the basic right to learn at schools due to a combination of dense red-tape, racism, fear ,corruption and the ignorance of incompetent officials and xenophobic politicians.


            The dire predicament is not only experienced by the children of foreign migrants and refugees but even Russians themselves.

            For instance, Yelena Kudracheta , who came from Donesk in February 2014, could not get her son Misha allowed into any  school located in Moscow. Yelena stated, 'We went to around 20 schools in Moscow and outer Moscow and everywhere they demanded we show proof of registration again and again. .... They don't give political refuge in Moscow, only in the regions!' Yelena took her complaint to the President of the Russian Federation who actually answered that you should simply take your child to school and they must accept her. However, Yelena instead 
managed to get her child into a school in Belgrade.

            Another parent with problems is Afganistan refugee Kharun Shakh, who during the war there lost all his documents. He has 9 children, several whom are studying at the Centre of Adaptation, who offer free courses in Russian, English and other school subjects for children. His ten year old son Mukhin Shar was one of the children who was denied a right to enter school this September. Asked whether he would like to enter school, the boy thunders back bitterly, 'Of course I want to go to school. I would like to learn maths, English, History and Technical Drawing.'


            Unfortunately, not everyone agrees that children should be allowed into Russian schools. A recent headline by a Russian newspaper, 'Sovershenno Secret ', 1st -8th Sept,2015,(361), asks 'Why children arriving in schools turn into big problems for Russian schools? ' The article which claims to be 'a special investigation', with dubiously selected examples, claims that the children of migrants and refugees can't fit into schools because of their own culture which is incompatible to Russian.

            The article then goes on to blame migrant children for most of the crime, disorder and hooliganism in schools (similar to leading U.S. republican presidential candidate Donald Trump who also blames immigrants for crime). However, the countless examples of how many migrant children not only fit in to schools but excel in their education are not even examined or considered. If they had bothered to interview many teachers and civil rights activists, they would have been offered countless concrete positive examples. But they could not be bothered.


            Civil activists and supporters for the rights of migrant and refugee children should not be disheartened or depressed by many setbacks. If they are patient and persevere with a lot of hard work they will attain some significant results. Whether this agitation amounts to petitions, teaching, legal actions or going around the schools attempting to persuade school headmasters to let children enter schools it will pay off in the long-term. However, we can't be complacent. We still have a long daunting struggle ahead of us!  However, it is not in vain.

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