It’s easy to dismiss what’s happening to others when you feel safe and warm in your own house at night, but the notion of everything being alright in the world is a deluded one. While we humans do need to focus on the positive for mental sanity, as well as to co-create a better world, present conundrums cannot be ignored. To do so is a detriment to the entire planet.
One issue that demands attention is the fact that one out of every 200 children in the world is now a refugee. UNICEF proclaimed the news earlier in September, relaying that out of the nearly 50 million children that have been uprooted from their homes, approximately 28 million are refugees fleeing from violence and conflict. Furthermore, “that is a conservative estimate”, according to the report.
The report, entitled “Uprooted: The Growing Crisis for Refugee and Migrant Children,” (pdf), is the first to deliver comprehensive, global data about the children who have had their lives uprooted due to war.
The report’s executive summary argues:
“Children do not bear any responsibility for the bombs and bullets, the gang violence, persecution, the shriveled crops and low family wages driving them from their homes. They are, however, always the first to be affected by war, conflict, climate change and poverty.”
Incredibly, an astounding 100,000 child refugees are traveling without their parents or families. It is observed that in 2005, only 1 in every 350 children was a refugee; now, 1 in every 200 children in the world is a child refugee.
Nearly one-third of children refugees were displaced internally by the ongoing conflicts in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq. Additionally, “child refugees fleeing endless war in two countries, Syria and Afghanistan, represented one-half of all child migrants worldwide.”
If you’re wondering why so many children remain refugees, UNICEF’s director, Anthony Lake, explains this in the introduction.
“Though many communities and people around the world have welcomed refugee and migrant children, xenophobia, discrimination, and exclusion pose serious threats to their lives and futures,” he writes. “Language barriers make it difficult for children and their families to seek the help they need. Legal barriers can prevent them from accessing education, health care and other services. These obstacles are magnified for the 70,000 children who are born stateless every year, often as a result of their parents’ migration.”
It’s not enough to just be aware of the situation, taking action is required. The report urges protections for child refugees, as well as calls on the international community to create safe and legal routes for all displaced.
As CommonDreams relays, European immigration policies and attitudes in the United States have grown disastrously hostile toward refugees and their plights. But if asylum isn’t offered to those who need help, “what can the future hold for these children – denied so much of what they need?” asks Lake. He writes, “The answer depends on what we do today.”
“When children and their families have safe, legal routes for migration, it can offer tremendous opportunities for both the children who migrate as well as the communities they join. When safe pathways are not available, migration and displacement continue, but with much greater risk. In these situations, it is children who face the most immediate dangers and most profound consequences,” concludes UNICEF.
To gain a broader perspective of how child refugees live, please review the photo series “Photographer Reveals The Heartbreaking Places Syrian Refugee Children Sleep“.
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