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Editorial: Education for all

In the past, the government of Iran prohibited Afghan refugees from enrolling at schools, while education for all is the obligation of every country without making any disparity. Marring Afghan children from going to schools was a clear violence of Afghan refugee’s rights. As of 2012, the vast majority of Afghan refugees, according to UN date, lived in Pakistan and Iran, with roughly 1.7 million registered in Pakistan and around one million registered in Iran. As of 2013, at least half a million or so had been given other forms of temporary status in Iran. Millions of other Afghans have also fled violence and insecurity, as well as loss of livelihood, but for various reasons have not registered as refugees or have sought other protective status, or lost their status at some point. These undocumented migrants have also settled overwhelmingly in Pakistan, and Iran, or have spent extended periods of time in these countries as part of regional and cyclical economic migration. It is worth mentioning that there have been significant benefits for Iran and Pakistan for hosting millions of documented and undocumented Afghans. However, the Afghan refugees have been barred from going to schools. Hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees, both adults and children have been prevented from being enrolled to Iranian schools. When millions of Iranian children flock to school, thousands of Afghan schoolchildren living in the Iran remained at home, while education to all is obligation of the host country. Rather, Iran is Islamic Republic, so education to men and women is obligatory according to Islamic teachings. But Iran for longtime has been banned Afghan refugees from pursing education. Not only this but the Afghan refugees in Iran, were also denied of basic services, including access to healthcare, jobs and event housing in Iran. Gaining knowledge is the right of all people in all situations. Education facilities must be provided for all regardless of their nationality. However, from now, Iran will provide education facilities to the Afghans living there as Iranian Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei said that from now no Afghan child should be deprived of an education in Iran. “No Afghan child in Iran, not even illegal immigrants, should be deprived of education and schools must enroll them,” Khamenei wrote in his twitter account. This is a great and a wise decision and also a major step forward for Afghan children, who were often deprived of education. Currently, hundreds of thousands of Afghan children are in Iran as refugees—many of whom are not in schools. The government of Iran has adopted a great decision, and the Afghan children will no more be deprived of education. Truly appreciable efforts have taken by the government of Iran. Iran has to ensure all Afghan children the same right to primary and secondary education, free from discrimination. There is hope that the government of Iran translates its words into action and enrolled Afghan children to schools as soon as possible.

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