One of 28million children displaced by conflict
UNICEF report highlights plight of youngsters caught in the crossfire of war
This girl, pictured in a refugee camp on the Turk-Syria border, is just one of 28 million children around the world who have been driven from their homes by violent conflict, with nearly as many abandoning their homes in search of a better life. That was the staggering statistic from a UNICEF report that found while children make up about a third of the world’s population as of 2015, they account for nearly half of all refugees – with the number of child refugees having doubled in the past decade.
According to the report, there are 10 million child refugees and one million child asylum-seekers, whose status had not yet been determined. The remaining 17 million children displaced by conflict remained within their home countries’ borders.
The report said that 45 per cent of refugee children came from just two countries: Syria and Afghanistan.
“What’s important is that these children on the move are children. And they should be treated as children,” said Ted Chaiban, UNICEF Director of Programmes in Geneva.
“They deserve to be protected. They need access to services, such as education.” Another horrifying statistic from the report was that the number of displaced children travelling alone is on the rise, with 100,000 unaccompanied minors applying for asylum in 78 countries in 2015, three times the number in 2014.
Because these children often lack documents, they are especially vulnerable. The report estimates that another 20 million children are migrants, driven from their homes by poverty and gang violence among other things.
Refugee and migrant children face a host of risks, including drowning during sea crossings, malnourishment, dehydration and kidnapping. When they arrive in other countries they often face discriminations and xenophobia, the report stated.
“The world hears the stories of child refugees one child at a time and the world is able to bring support to that child, but when we talk about millions it provokes incredible outrage and underscores the need to address the growing problem,” said Emily Garin, the report’s author.