President Obama’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees is Step in the Right Direction

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NEW YORK, NY (September 20, 2016) —Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children issued the following statement on the results achieved at the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, convened by President Obama today in New York:

Collectively, world leaders made important policy and funding commitments this year to get 1 million more refugee children in school, 1 million more refugees access to legal work, provide a 4.5 billion dollar increase in humanitarian assistance, double refugee admissions.

These commitments are a much needed step in the right direction to help children and families who have been driven from their homes, but significant gaps remain. As President Obama himself acknowledged, governments must build on the momentum achieved at this summit to finish the job of meeting the needs of all 21.3 million refugees who have been forced to flee in search of safety.

As the world faces the largest refugee crisis since World War II, an astonishing 3.7 million refugee children around the globe are currently out of school. Without an education, these children face a bleak future. That is why Save the Children has been calling for no refugee child to be out of school for more than one month.

Today’s summit and yesterday’s UN High-Level Meeting on Refugees and Migrants were key opportunities for states to ensure displaced children have access to education with all of the safeguards a school environment provides. We were pleased to see the U.S. government announce nearly $37 million in funding for UNHCR to support refugee education programs in 16 countries, as well as to hear commitments from other countries to make changes that will allow more refugee children to access education. In the months ahead, Save the Children calls on all states to take additional action as a matter of urgency to make sure all 3.7 million out of school refugee children have access to education.

In order for these two meetings to have a meaningful and lasting impact, pledges made by states must translate into concrete actions on the ground. Save the Children calls on world leaders to host another summit next year to ensure the vision of the Leaders’ Summit is realized. Such a meeting is critical for governments to evaluate progress on their commitments and redouble their efforts to address the global refugee crisis. At a time when a record number of families are displaced, world leaders must act urgently to share the responsibility of protecting displaced populations and meeting their needs. It falls on all governments to come together and deliver a new deal for children – one that will ensure their right to a safe and productive life.

Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We invest in childhood — every day, in times of crisis and for our future. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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