A record 37 million children displaced worldwide: UNICEF – global issues

That figure includes 13.7 million refugee and asylum-seeking children and nearly 22.8 million internally displaced due to conflict and violence.

However, children displaced by climate and environmental shocks or disasters, as well as those newly displaced in 2022, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine, are not included.

The record number of displaced children is a direct result of cascading crisessaid UNICEFincluding acute and protracted conflicts, such as in Afghanistan, and instability in countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) or Yemen all of which are exacerbated by the devastating effects of climate change.

It spreads quickly

The displacement of children is spreading fast, the agency said. In the previous year, the global number of displaced children increased by 2.2 million.

“We cannot ignore the evidence: The number of children displaced by conflicts and crises is growing rapidly “And it is our responsibility to reach them,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.

I hope that this alarming number will lead governments to prevent the displacement of children“,” she added, “and when resettled to ensure their access to education, protection and other critical services that support their well-being and development now and in the future.”

Crises such as the war in Ukraine, which has forced more than two million children to flee the country and displaced three million internally since February, are at the top of the record.

Extreme weather

In addition, children and families have been driven from their homes by extreme weather events, UNICEF said, such as the drought in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel and severe floods in Bangladesh, India and South Africa.

In 2021, there were 7.3 million new displacements of children as a result of natural disasters.

The world’s refugee population has more than doubled in the last decade, with children making up almost half of the total. More than a third of displaced children live in sub-Saharan Africa (3.9 million or 36 per cent), a quarter in Europe and Central Asia (2.6 million or 25 per cent) and 13 per cent (1.4 million) in the Middle East. east and North Africa.

As the number of displaced and refugee children reaches record highs, access to basic support and services such as health, education and protection is insufficient. Only half of all refugee children are enrolled in primary school, while less than a quarter of adolescent refugees are in secondary school.

Natural disasters have displaced 7.3 million children in 2021.

IOM / Muse Mohammed

Natural disasters have displaced 7.3 million children in 2021.

Serious risks

Expelled children – whether refugees, asylum seekers or internally displaced – can face serious risks to their well-being and safety. This is especially true for the hundreds of thousands of unaccompanied or separated children who are at increased risk of trafficking, exploitation, violence and abuse. Children make up approximately 28% of victims of trafficking worldwide.

UNICEF urges Member States to adhere to their commitments on the rights of all expelled children, including those established under Global Refugee Treaty (GCR) and Global Compact on Migration (GCM) and to invest further in data and research that reflect the true scale of the problems facing refugee, migrant and displaced children.

6 for home

UNICEF calls on governments to take six steps to level the playing field for all refugee, migrant and displaced children:

  1. Provide equal support to all children – wherever they come from.

  2. Recognize refugee, migrant and displaced children above all – with rights to protection, development and participation.

  3. Increase collective action to ensure effective access to basic services – including health and education – for all displaced children and families, regardless of their status.

  4. Protect refugee, migrant and displaced children from discrimination and xenophobia.

  5. Ending harmful border management practices and detaining immigrant children.

  6. Give young refugees, migrants and displaced people the opportunity to develop their talents and reach their full potential.

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