World Refugee DayWorld Refugee Day is held every year on 20 June to raise awareness on xxxx. Indeed, access to safe and inclusive learning and working environments are crucial for socio-economic and emotional well-being of refugees and people of a migrant background. In particular, the importance of recognition of refugees’ qualifications is highlighted by the Council of Europe which organises a live debate on the role of education in supporting refugees’ integration. The Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights has also published recommendations on rescuing migrants at sea reflecting the concerns about EU Member States launching criminal and administrative proceedings against NGOs or other private entities involved in search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean, expressed in the update published by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). The Statement from the European Commission and the High Representative also highlights the need for a global and inclusive partnership within the entire international community on protecting the human rights of refugees inside and outside Europe.

EI/ETUCE member organisations are concerned about the critical situation in which refugees around the world find themselves in, leaving many qualified refugee teachers without employment and students vulnerable to isolation in education systems. Following the theme of 2019 #StepWithRefugees — Take A Step on World Refugee Day, education trade unions suggest a step towards more inclusive learning and working environments.

Only a few days before the World Refugee Day, ETUCE and EFEE organised a social partners’ seminar in the framework of the joint project “European Sectoral Social Partners in Education promoting effective integration of migrants and refugees in education”. The seminar took place in Larnaca, Cyprus, and provided the opportunity to discuss challenges, policies and actions for a successful educational experience of high quality for all migrant and refugee children. Education trade unions and employers in education from Southern and Central-Eastern European countries echoed the need for inclusive education system, were teachers have the necessary tools, space and time to cater for the specific needs of refugee and migrant children and to strengthen the cooperation with parents and with the whole community.

On a World Refugee Day, ETUCE European Director, Susan Flocken, reminds: “For education institutions and teachers to appropriately reply to the needs of refugee children, adequate school infrastructure and resources, including relevant teacher training and professional support for teachers and other education personnel, are needed in every school. Social partners play a key role in supporting refugee and migrant students and teachers by undertaking concrete practices in and outside of schools and integrating them into policy measures”.