This figure includes 13.7 million refugee and asylum-seeking children, and nearly 22.8 million, who are internally displaced due to conflict and violence.
However, this does not include children displaced by climatic and environmental shocks or disasters, as well as those newly displaced in 2022, notably by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Record number of displaced children is the direct result of cascading crisessaid UNICEF, 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 effects of climate change.
The displacement of children is spreading rapidly, the agency said. Over the past year, the global number of displaced children has increased by 2.2 million.
“We cannot ignore the evidence: The number of children displaced by conflict and crises is growing rapidly – and it is our responsibility to achieve them,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.
“I hope this alarming number inspires governments to prevent children from being displaced in the first place.“, she added, “and when displaced, to ensure their access to education, protection and other essential services that support their well-being and development, now and in the future. ‘coming “.
Crises like the war in Ukraine, which has driven more than two million children to flee the country and displaced three million internally since February, add to that record.
Extreme weather conditions
In addition, children and families are also 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 in South Africa.
In 2021, there were 7.3 million new displacements of children due to natural disasters.
The global refugee population has more than doubled over the past decade, with children accounting for almost 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 reaches an all-time high, access to essential support and services such as healthcare, education and protection is insufficient. Only half of all refugee children are enrolled in primary school, while less than a quarter of refugee adolescents are enrolled in secondary school.
Uprooted children – whether refugees, asylum seekers or internally displaced – can face serious risks to their well-being and safety. This is especially true for the hundreds of thousands of unaccompanied or separated children who are at heightened risk of trafficking, exploitation, violence and abuse. Children account for approximately 28% of victims of trafficking worldwide.
UNICEF urges Member States to uphold 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 to invest more in data and research that truly reflects the scale of the problems facing refugee, migrant and displaced children.
6 takeaway meals
UNICEF is calling on governments to take six steps to level the playing field for all refugee, migrant and displaced children:
Provide equal support to all children, wherever they come from.
Recognize refugee, migrant and displaced children as children first – with rights to protection, development and participation.
Increase collective action to ensure effective access to essential services – including health care and education – for all uprooted children and families, regardless of status.
Protect refugee, migrant and displaced children from discrimination and xenophobia.
End harmful border management practices and the detention of migrant children.
Empowering young refugees, migrants and displaced people to unleash their talents and realize their full potential.