Nearly 50 million children worldwide have migrated across borders or been forcibly displaced by conflicts, the United Nations said on Tuesday in a new report meant to emphasize the trauma children face from war, climate change and poverty.
Distributed by Unicef, the United Nations Children’s agency, the report said more than half of these children, roughly 28 million, have fled violence and insecurity.
Children also represent a disproportionate and growing segment of those who have sought refuge outside their country of birth, the report said. While children make up about a third of the global population, they account for about half of all refugees.
An executive summary of the report, titled “Uprooted,” described it as the first comprehensive presentation of global data about the affected children: “where they are born, where they move and some of the dangers they face along the way.”
The report said that last year, two countries — Syria and Afghanistan — accounted for nearly half of all child refugees as classified by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. It also showed that the number of child refugees has more than doubled in the past 10 years.
Unicef issued the report a few weeks before the annual United Nations General Assembly, when world leaders will converge to meet against a backdrop of the protracted conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, South Sudan and other parts of the Middle East and Africa that together are helping to drive the global refugee and migrant crises.
“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,” the report said.
Turkey is host to the largest total number of recent refugees, with more than three million people fleeing the civil war in Syria. It quite likely has the largest number of child refugees, too, the report said. But Lebanon, relative to its population, is host to more refugees than any other country: Roughly one in five people in Lebanon is a refugee.
The report also showed that among migrant children, three out of every five live in Asia or Africa. In the Americas, home to roughly 6.3 million child migrants, four out of five live in just three countries: the United States, Mexico and Canada.
Source: New York Times