Displaced children in Zamboanga barred from school, says human rights group


Posted at Jun 17 2016 03:51 AM

Displaced families queuing for water at the Joaquin Enriquez stadium, which serves as an evacuation center for families that fled the conflict in certain parts of Mindanao. File photo/Thomson Reuters Foundation

Hundreds of displaced children living in shelters in Zamboanga City were barred from attending school after the city government failed to forward their school records to the Department of Education, according to U.S.-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch.

These children come from families who fled fighting between the military and a faction of the rebel group Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Mindanao.

According to Human Rights Watch, most of the affected children live in the Masepla transitory site, where an estimated 1,400 families are being housed.

"The plight of the displaced school kids underscores how the government falls short in meeting the basic needs of its displaced people. These failures have prompted many displaced families to leave Zamboanga and move to other cities where they join the ranks of the impoverished, their children reduced to begging, often provoking local backlash," Human Rights Watch said.

The advocacy group calls on the Philippine government to immediately address the educational needs of the displaced children in Zamboanga.