Record number of children displaced by war and poverty

Record number of children displaced by war and poverty
2 min read
07 September, 2016
Video: Almost 50 million children throughout the world are 'uprooted,' forcibly displaced from their home countries by war, violence or persecution, the United Nations children's programme said on Wednesday.
More children than ever have been forced from their homes due to conflict and poverty, with almost 50 million displaced worldwide.

More than half of these – 28 million – have been uprooted by war and violence.

Last year, 45 percent of child refugees came from just two countries: Syria and Afghanistan.

According to a UNICEF report, the number of displaced youngsters has doubled in the last decade.

"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 programs in Geneva. "They deserve to be protected. They need access to services, such as education."

The report, entitled Uprooted: The Growing Crisis for Regufee and Migrant Children, also found some 20 million other children have left their homes for various reasons including gang violence or extreme poverty.

There were 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 within their own countries, lacking access to humanitarian aid and vital services.

"Many are at particular risk of abuse and detention because they have no documentation, have uncertain legal status, and there is no systematic tracking and monitoring of their well-being – children falling through the cracks," UNICEF said.

UNICEF urged authorities to end the detention of children migrating or seeking refugee status, avoid separating families, allow child refugees and migrants access to health services and to promote measures that combat xenophobia, discrimination and marginalisation.

The UN aency will take up the issue of migration at this year's UN General Assembly.

"We'd like to see some clear commitments and practical measures," UNICEF deputy executive director Justin Forsyth said.

"The burden sharing of this crisis is not fair: the greatest burden is supported by neighbouring countries or the poorest countries."