Almost a year since the arrival of the first batch of Rohingya scholars, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, together with the Government of the Philippines on Tuesday, 22 August 2023, welcomed another batch of scholars who are set to pursue higher education under the Complementary Pathways (CPath) programme.
“UNHCR commends the Philippines for its exemplary role in the region by creating and eventually scaling up the Complementary Pathways programme. What started off as a plan that went through a series of careful deliberations is now being hailed as a best practice worth emulating by the global community,” said UNHCR Philippines Head of National Office Maria Ermina Valdeavilla-Gallardo.
UNHCR Philippines joins the Government and its academic partners in welcoming the second batch of scholars under the Complementary Pathways Programme. ©UNHCR/Tin Arellano
UNHCR works with various partners in the academe to create opportunities for refugees to access education. ©UNHCR/Tin Arellano
The Department of Justice introduces the scholars under the Complementary Pathways Programme of the Philippines to the respective schools where they will be studying for the next four to five years. ©UNHCR/Iris Tayag
Last year, the landmark initiative welcomed its first batch of select young Rohingya and provided them with opportunities to study in the country through the first CPath school partners Columban College, Inc. and De La Salle Araneta University. Through education, they have been able to access a safe and regulated avenue of admission and stay in the Philippines.
This year, four more schools have agreed to be champions of refugee protection in the country by opening their doors to Rohingya and providing them with the necessary skills and knowledge to eventually be self-reliant. These are San Beda University (SBU) in Manila, St. Louis University (SLU) in Baguio City, Tarlac State University (TSU), and the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod City.
Atty. Paulito de Jesus, Assistant Head of the Department of Justice – Refugee and Stateless Persons Protection Unit (DOJ-RSPPU), said, “It is a great privilege for the Department of Justice to be the one to formally introduce the scholars to the academic institutions who have generously opened their campuses and dormitories as a possible path towards a future full of hope.”
On the part of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Director Ambrosio Brian Enciso III of the Office of United Nations and Other International Organizations thanked the Inter-Agency Committee and the UNHCR “for its diligence and unwavering dedication in sustaining this program. I am also grateful to our partner institutions, who help prospective CPath scholars live up to their potential.”
It was during the Global Refugee Forum in 2019 that the Philippines first pledged to create complementary pathways solutions for Rohingya who fled violence in Myanmar. This was consistent with the country’s open-door policy, strong humanitarian tradition, and international commitments such as the 1951 Refugee Convention, the Global Compact on Refugees, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. We lead international action to protect refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. We deliver life-saving assistance, help safeguard fundamental human rights, and develop solutions that ensure people have a safe place called home where they can build a better future. We also work to ensure that stateless people are granted a nationality. We work in over 130 countries, using our expertise to protect and care for millions.
In the Philippines, UNHCR has maintained a presence for over 40 years, working on three pillars: providing durable solutions to refugees, ending and reducing statelessness, and empowering displaced families.
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