UNICEF estimates that there are 36.5 million displaced children in the world, the highest figure in history

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that a total of 36.5 million children have been forced to move around the world in the face of the resurgence of conflicts and violence, which is the highest figure in history.

In a statement, the UN agency indicated that of the nearly 37 million displaced minors, 13.7 are refugees and asylum seekersWhile others 22.9 million are internally displaced.

According to UNICEF, five million displaced are Ukrainian children who have had to move due to the war with Russia, of which two million have had to leave the country.

Throughout 2021, 7.3 million children had to move as a result of droughts and severe floodsas in the Horn of Africa and Bangladesh, India and South Africarespectively.

These record numbers of child displacement come as direct result of the “cascading crisis” following serious and protracted conflictssuch as Afghanistan, and the “fragility of countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Yemen”, as explained by UNICEF.

The displacement of children is increasing rapidly and, over the past year, the total number of displaced children increased by 2.2 million.

“We cannot ignore the evidence: the number of children displaced by conflict and crisis is rising rapidly and so is our responsibility to reach them,” said UNICEF Executive Director, catherine russell.

“I hope that these alarming figures will move governments to prevent children from being displaced in the first place; and, if they are, to ensure their access to education, protection and other essential services that support their well-being and development now and in the future.”

The refugee population has more than doubled in the last decade, and children constitute almost half of the total. More than a third – 36 per cent – ​​of displaced children live in sub-Saharan Africa (3.9 million), 25 per cent in Europe and Central Asia (2.6 million) and 13 per cent (1.4 million) in the Middle East. Middle and North Africa.

The agency warned that as the number of displaced children increases, access to essential services, such as health care, education and protection, has been decreasing.

Uprooted children face serious risks to their well-being and safety. This is particularly true for the thousands of separated and unaccompanied children, who are at even greater risk of being victims of trafficking, exploitation, violence and abuse, according to UNICEF, which has recalled that children “make up approximately the 34 percent of the total victims of trafficking.”

The organization called on governments to adopt measures to achieve “equal rights and opportunities for all refugee, migrant and displaced children”, including “providing equitable support to all children, recognizing migrant refugee children and displaced, increase collective action to ensure effective access to essential services, protect children and end harmful practices in border management.

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