Children attend the first day of school, Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)
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Racial discrimination against 21-month-old Rizk Kijjo by a Kesrouan nursery shocked the Lebanese public, provoking soul-searching about how a toddler could be rejected admission solely based on the color of his skin.Hamati advocates specifically for the children of migrant workers living in Lebanon.As an example of the systemic discrimination migrant children face, she mentioned that in 2014 General Security began denying renewals of residence permits to the children of foreign nationals if the children were enrolled in school. While Human Rights Watch has not done work specifically on racial discrimination against children in Lebanese schools, Khawaja said that Syrian students and those with disabilities have faced discrimination similar to that faced by the Kijjos.Hana Joujou, owner of high-end daycare center Dent de Lait and head of the nursery owners' syndicate, told The Daily Star that the incident with the Kijjos was the first time she had come across such blatant racial discrimination in her field of work.Nonetheless, institutional racism and discrimination laws have prevented migrants and refugees from accessing the same quality social services provided for nationals.
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