A record 37 million children displaced worldwide: UNICEF — Global Issues

This figure includes 13.7 million child refugees and asylum seekers, and nearly 22.8 million who are 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 by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, are not included.

The record number of displaced children is a direct result of cascading crisesUNICEF said, including acute and protracted conflicts such as in Afghanistan and fragility in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) or Yemen all exacerbated by the destructive impacts of climate change.

spreading quickly

Displacement of children is spreading rapidly, the agency said. During 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 conflict and crises is growing rapidly – and our responsibility is also to reach them,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.

I hope this alarming number moves governments to stop children being displaced in the first place,” he added, “and when they are displaced, 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 caused more than two million children to flee the country and internally displaced three million since February, add to this record.

extreme weather

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

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

The global refugee population has more than doubled in the last decade, with children accounting for nearly half of the total. More than a third of displaced children live in Sub-Saharan Africa (3.9 million or 36%), a quarter in Europe and Central Asia (2.6 million or 25%) and 13% (1.4 million) in the Middle East and North Africa.

As the number of displaced and refugee children hits a record, access to support and essential services such as health, education and protection lags. Only half of all refugee children are enrolled in primary school, while less than a quarter of refugee teenagers are in secondary school.

Natural disasters displaced 7.3 million children in 2021.

IOM / Muse Mohammed

Natural disasters displaced 7.3 million children in 2021.

serious risks

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

UNICEF urges Member States to live up to their commitments to the rights of all uprooted children, including those established under the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and the Global Compact for Migration (GCM), and invest more in data and research that reflect the true scale of the problems faced by refugee, migrant and displaced children.

6 tips

UNICEF is calling on governments to take six actions 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 as children first – with rights to protection, development and participation.

  3. Increase collective action to ensure effective access to essential services – including health care and education – for all uprooted children and families, regardless of status.

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

  5. End harmful border management practices and detention of migrant children.

  6. Empowering young refugees, migrants and displaced people to unleash their talents and realize their full potential.

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