The imaginary case of Mohamed who has to sell six roses every day before he can go back to the camp to assist his mother is a precise depiction of the situation that Syrian children refugees are going through. The thirteen-year-old boy has been living in a congested refugee camp in Jordan. Mohamed lost his father in a terrorist assault that occurred in Syria. Since then, he has been compelled to join other Syrian children refugees in camps where they live under desperate conditions. As the Syrian conflict persists, more children are moving out of Syria to seek asylum in neighboring countries and any other state that is willing to welcome them. The Syrian children refugees deserve adequate support. Childcare has popularly been viewed as a family affair and the responsibility of adults. Nonetheless, the situation of Syrian children refugees requires the intervention of the international community. The ensuing discourse explores the ethics of care that can be used by advanced democratic societies such as Canada to safeguard the rights of Syrian children asylum-seekers.
Brief Summary of the Case of Syrian Children Refugees
Military clashes in Syria have led to an increased number of refugees from Syria to the neighboring countries. Syrian children refugees have suffered the loss of loved ones and consequently traumatic experiences whose effects have been augmented by the closure of schools. Besides facing seclusion, they lead insecure lives. They also act as breadwinners who have to take care of their families through hard labor. Many of them experience physical and mental tribulations after witnessing the butchery of their families and acquaintances (Gheaus, 2013).
The situation demonstrates the lack of intervention programs to help them to recover from the trauma. They seldom leave their shelters, which are mostly shanties or tents. Therefore, there is a great concern that has arisen over a generation that may grow up being devoid of formal education. The majority of the children immigrants remain out of learning institutions for long (Cockburn, 2005). Some of them have even been taken to participate in the war, which has robbed them of their innocence. Most schools have been converted into refugee camps.
Young children have had their childhood taken away from them. Bitterness and suspicion have taken over their lives. The children face the scarcity of sanitation and health services. They are forced to sleep in the cold, even during winter. Scores of Syrian babies are also being born outside Syria where they cannot access birth certificates. The risk of losing the whole generation is real. The danger increases with the continuation of the war in Syria. The ongoing clashes have worked to undo the progress that had taken place in terms of education and quality of life in Syria over the years. Many of the children are exposed to the risk of losing their future if the ongoing conflict does not end. Although humanitarian organizations have been trying to give aid to the refugees, there is a need for more interventions to be done to obviate more disaster.
Application of Ethics of Care
Ethics of care is a moral theory that arose from feminists who appreciated the vitality of care. Caregiving, which is part of moral practices, is a character, standard, or a desirable quality (Cockburn, 2005). Care is not only labor but also an ideal that controls normative decision-making. It comprises everything that is done to repair the world. The ethics of care has four components. One of the constituents is the attentiveness of the need for care. The thoughtfulness is followed by a sense of responsibility, which entails the willingness to be responsive to the need. The other constituent is a propensity, which is the ability to offer excellent care (Cockburn, 2005).
The final aspect is the ability to recognize the possibility of abuse in care. The basic needs approach care addresses all things that are done to facilitate the meeting of people’s biological needs to preserve their fundamental abilities as members of society (Cockburn, 2005). The theory implies the moral importance of the significant elements of interactions and dependence on human life. It seeks to sustain relationships by contextualizing and encouraging the good work that caregivers do to the recipients through a complex array of social interactions. It encourages the satisfaction of one’s needs, as well as those of others. Therefore, it inspires the spirit of caring for the more vulnerable and dependent people.
According to Somanader (2015), the population of Syrian children immigrants has relentlessly been going up. This situation indicates an increase in the number of children who lack basic needs such as nutrition, sanctuary, clothing, as well as schooling. Various humanitarian organizations take the responsibility of taking care of such children in camps. However, more groups of people should be involved in helping the children to find better amenities (Held, 2006). The situation calls for the responsibility of other countries to accommodate refugees. One of the biggest problems that the generation of children who form part of Syrian refugees has been facing is the lack of access to formal education, especially given that many of the kids are the breadwinners, whereas others are unable to go to school due to poor health or hunger. In applying the ethics of care theory, it is important for the society to facilitate the meeting of the needs of the more dependent and vulnerable kids to preserve their basic capabilities for them to function better in the society. Volunteering to provide education to the children may go a long way in helping them to improve their situation. The strategy will give the children hope that their future is not lost. They can resume being important members of society even after the conflicts in Syria are quelled.
Undergoing traumatic experiences during childhood is likely to lead to the development of psychological disorders. This situation can be prevented by tackling the problems that the kids face at a tender age (Emond, 2010). If counseling programs by volunteers and humanitarian organizations may be established for the children, they can greatly influence the kids’ psychological health. The initiatives will be fundamental, especially for kids who have had to witness their folks and acquaintances being murdered (Somanader, 2015). Children’s protection, especially the girls, will be important to reduce the rates of abuse and exploitation of vulnerable children. Finally, there is a lack of proper sanitation amenities. This state of affairs predisposes children to hygiene-related illnesses. The provision of sanitation systems for refugee children will improve their health and the general quality of life (Held, 2006).
Response to Syrian Children Asylum Seekers
Gheaus (2013) observes that the separation between parents and children causes damage to both parents and young people. The primary care bonds are also worsened when the separation is prolonged. Seeking asylum is often an involuntary choice. Excruciating situations compel children refugees such as Mohamed to separate from their loved ones in search of a safe sanctuary. They not only live economically indecent lives but also lack emotional care. Most advanced democratic societies such as the United States, France, Canada, and the United Kingdom have shown a commitment to offering refuge and financial aid to the mounting refugee numbers. However, although most provisions are consistent with the features of ethics of care, they do not fully meet its characteristics. For instance, most countries only focus on providing material needs while ignoring the children’s needs. Thus, in responding to the Syrian children’s refugee disaster, the stakeholders should consider various practices that are in line with the notion of ethics of care. Indeed, if care is applied, the lives of most children who are forced to engage in child labor or flee to peaceful nations will be improved (Steckley & Smith, 2011).
Foremost, countries such as Canada should devise policies that will help Syria to develop a politically and economically stable state. The new economic system should encourage the equal distribution of resources in such a way that most citizens live a decent life. The children should not be forced to move to other countries. Indeed, political and economic injustice is among the main causes of the ongoing conflict in Syria. If peace is restored, then the children will not suffer in refugee camps in foreign countries. Although this strategy may appear as a lasting solution, it is not practical in present Syria, considering that the war continues to persist in the Middle East (Gheaus, 2013).
Canadian authorities should create public institutions that can offer adequate care to the children’s asylum seekers. Ethics of care thinkers have continuously commented on the phenomenon of individualism propagated by advocates of dominant morality concepts (Johnston, 2015). Caring for children is a public responsibility. Consequently, public institutions such as daycare, residential care homes, as well as after-school organizations, may be used to offer adequate care to refugee children. According to Steckley and Smith (2011), the institutions may offer a suitable platform to determine kids who need emotional attention due to their disconnection from parents.
Some of the values that are inherent in public institutions comprise justice and equality among others that are in line with the interests of the children. Feminists assert that care should be offered without considering the distinctiveness of the children’s personhood. Additionally, the institutions should also consider the context of the care. The care offered to children should serve their immediate needs. Schools and residential care homes should also consider the rights of teenagers to ensure that they are fully met. The rights of education and proper sanitary conditions should be offered to the extent that they meet the interests of the children while not straining the provider (Gheaus, 2013).
The population of children refugees who are seeking asylum in peaceful countries is bound to increase with time. As children continue being separated from their parents because of the exacerbating war, advanced democratic societies will have to join the international community in devising ways to provide care to the youthful escapees. Using the ethics of care theory, advanced democracies can devise practices that can help the desperate children, refugees, to receive adequate care as it has been discussed in the paper. There is the need to create public institutions with professionals who can help young people to receive proper care, despite losing their families in the war-stricken country. Notably, care should be offered together with the vigilant application of values such as justice and equality.
Cockburn, T. (2005). Children and the Feminist Ethics of Care. Childhood, 12(1), 71–89.
Emond, R. (2010). Caring as a Moral, Practical and Powerful Endeavor: Peer Care in a Cambodian Orphanage. London: Oxford University.
Gheaus, A. (2013). Care drain: who should provide for the children left behind? Critical Review of International Social & Political Philosophy, 16(1), 1-23.
Held, V. (2006). The Ethics of Care: Personal, Political, and Global. London: Oxford.
Johnston, T. (2015). Affirmation and Care: A Feminist Account of Bullying and Bullying Prevention. Hypatia, 30(2), 404-417.
Somanader, T. (2015). What You Need to Know About the Syrian Refugee Crisis and What the U.S. is Doing to Help. Web.
Steckley, L., & Smith, M. (2011). Care Ethics in Residential Child Care: A Different Voice. Ethics and Social Welfare, 5(2), 181-195.