HRW: Millions of dollars in Syrian aid missing

Millions of dollars of aid intended for Syrian child refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan have gone missing and multiple governments and agencies have been unable to account for the disappearance, Human Rights Watch said today.

The aid money that was sent for the purpose of funding the education and schooling needs of the Syrian children living as refugees in those countries, who number at least 1.6 million.


    Syrian child refugees of school age in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey

Lebanon in particular has witnessed less than half of its Syrian refugee children enrol for education and attend classes, partly because they work and partly because the funding is inadequate.

Last year there were also significant gaps in funding, leaving over 500,000 Syrian refugee children in the country out of education.

Read more: Over 1.5m Syrian refugees are lost in Lebanon

An example of aid going missing is that USAID, the US government aid agency reported it had given $248 million in school aid to Jordan last year, but Jordan’s government only reported receiving $13 million.

The aid serves the purpose of employing staff and teachers, providing student transportation, and paying for the equipment and supplies necessary for education. Discouraging impoverished children from doing work and hard labour is also a result of this, but without the required aid and funding, HRW says that these challenges cannot be tackled.

According to HRW, donor countries – of which the largest are the US, Germany, the UK, Japan, Norway and the EU – fell $97 million short of their pledges to provide $250 million for schooling in Lebanon in 2016.

Simon Rau, an HRW researcher, said that in order to identify the funding gaps there will need to be more transparency in the future.

Donors and host countries have promised that Syrian children will not become a lost generation, but this is exactly what is happening.

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