50 million children have migrated across borders or been forcibly displaced within their own countries around the world today; more than half of these children – 28 million – fled violence and insecurity. The number of child refugees under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) mandate has more than doubled in just 10 years. Nearly 1 in every 200 children in the world is a child refugee. In 2015 Syria and Afghanistan accounted for nearly half of all child refugees under UNHCR’s mandate.
These are the figures displayed in the report “Uprooted: The Growing Crisis for Refugee and Migrant Children” released by UNICEF.
The report includes comprehensive data on children on the move around the world – where they are born, where they move, and the dangers they face along the way.
Migrant and refugee children “are among the most vulnerable people on earth”, warns the report, they are at risk of human smuggling, trafficking, and other forms of abuse “and this vulnerability is only getting worse”. Additionally, “when, and if, these children reach destination countries, the threats they face do not disappear”.
Based on these findings, the UNICEF report calls for focusing international debates on migration and displacement of children; moreover, it calls on all actors for urgent actions to protect children on the move from exploitation and violence, to end their detention, to provide them with access to education, health care and other quality services, to preserve family unity, to combat xenophobia, discrimination and marginalization in countries of transit and destination.
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“If young refugees are accepted and protected today, if they have the chance to learn and grow, and to develop their potential, they can be a source of stability and economic progress”, points out Anthony Lake, UNICEF’s Executive Director.
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