The number of children affected by violent conflict and other crisis is at a record high,says a recently published UNICEF report entitled Uprooted.Of the nearly 50 million “uprooted” children in the world, 28 million are forcibly displaced. These 28 million children consist of 10 million child refugees, 1 million asylum seekers waiting for their status to be determined and 17 million internally displaced children.
“One in every 45 children in the world today is on the move,”the UN Agency stresses.“They may be labelled “refugee,” “displaced” or “migrant.” But first and foremost children are children. No matter where they come from, no matter who they are. Period.”
Not only are these children often traumatized by conflict, they also face the risk of drowning on sea crossings, malnourishment and dehydration, trafficking, kidnapping, rape and even murder on their journey to a safer world, UNICEF stresses.The report shows that the amount of unaccompanied children applying for international protection tripled in 2015 compared to 2014. These children are at particular risk of exploitation and abuse and a refugee child is also 5 times more likely to be out of school than a non-refugee child.
The report makes several recommendations that focus on the protection from exploitation and violence, ending detention for refugee status seeking children, the provision of education, health-care, shelter, nutrition, water and sanitation. The UN Agency also calls for action on the underlying causes of large-scale movements of people and measures to combat xenophobia and discrimination in receiving countries. UNICEF adds that where there are safe and legal routes, migration can offer opportunities for both the affected children and the receiving communities, an opinion shared by ECRE in the past.