It is the highest number recorded since World War II and does not include climatic migrants and those from recent crises, such as the war in Ukraine. It is becoming increasingly difficult and urgent to guarantee essential rights and services. At the end of May, there were around 14,500 unaccompanied foreign minors in Italy
ROME – According to UNICEF estimates, conflicts, violence and further crises have disappeared by the end of 2021 36.5 million children have been displaced from their homes, the highest number recorded since World War II. This figure includes 13.7 million refugees and asylum-seeking children and nearly 22.8 million children internally displaced due to conflict and violence. These numbers they do not include children displaced by climate and environmental shocks or disastersnor those who were recently displaced in 2022, also because of war in Ukraine.
Record numbers of displaced children are direct result of a chain crisisexplains Unicef, including acute and protracted conflicts such as the one in Afghanistanfragility in countries such as Democratic Republic of the Congo or Yemen and related shocks exacerbated by the effects of climate change. Like fragility, the expulsion of children also spreads rapidly. Last year, the global number of displaced children increased by 2.2 million.
“We can not ignore the evidence: the number of children displaced by conflicts and crises is rising rapid growthas well as our responsibility to achieve them – said UNICEF Director – General Catherine Russell– I hope that this alarming figure presses governments in the first instance to prevent children from being displaced, and when they are displaced, to to provide them with access to education, protection and other essential services that support their well-being and development now and in the future. “
Added to this record are crises like war in Ukraineas of February it caused more than 2 million children to flee the country and the internal displacement of 3 million. In addition, Unicef adds that children and families are being displaced from their homes also due to extreme climatic events, such as drought in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel and the serious ones floods in Bangladesh, India and South Africa. In 2021, they took place 7.3 million of new cases of displacement of children due to natural disasters. The world’s refugee population has more than doubled over the past decade, and children account for almost half of the total number. Over 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 a record high, Unicef explains, access to essential services such as health care, education and protection is declining. About two-thirds of all refugee children go to primary school, while about every third of the refugee children go to high school. Migrant children, whether refugees, asylum seekers or internally displaced persons, can take serious risks for their well-being and safety. This is especially true of the hundreds of thousands of unaccompanied or separated children who are most at risk of human trafficking, exploitation, violence and abuse. Children represent approximately 34% of the registered victims of human trafficking globally.
Unicef urges member states to respect their obligations to the rights of all migrant children, including those established under the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and the Global Compact on Migration (GCM), and to further invest in data and research that reflects the true extent of the problems faced by refugees, migrants and displaced children be faced with. UNICEF calls on governments to take six actions to achieve equal rights and opportunities for all refugees, migrants and displaced children: Give equal support to all children, no matter where they come from; recognize refugee, migrant and displaced children as children, first and foremost with the right to protection, development and participation; increase collective efforts to ensure effective access to essential services – including health care and education – for all immigrant children and families, regardless of their status; protect refugees, migrants and displaced children from discrimination and xenophobia; end harmful border management practices and detention of immigrant children; give young refugees, migrants and displaced persons the opportunity to unleash their talents and realize their full potential.
At the end of May in Italy they were approx 14,500 unaccompanied foreign minors present in the receiving system. The emergency contributed to the increase in currents. 35% of unaccompanied foreign minors are in fact of Ukrainian originTotal over 5000. Recent arrivals have also lowered the average age of arrivals by 22% of children and young people aged 7-14 years. The currents arriving from the Mediterranean also continue. From January to mid-June 2022, there were already more than 22,000 refugees and migrants arrived in Italy by seaamong which over 2,500 unaccompanied foreign minors. To these figures we must add an unspecified number of minors outside the formal reception system e.g. actually invisible for the protection and protection of rights.
In collaboration with partners in the area, Unicef reached over 4,000 migrants in the first quarter of 2022 alone and refugees, including: 1,000 minors with protection measures (measures to protect rights and better standards of reception and protection); 200 young people were placed in foster care and / or supported by mentors; over 1,000 minors in disadvantaged conditions, including unaccompanied foreign minors, have had access to language, digital and interdisciplinary skills development programs; over 1,100 migrants and refugees were reached through gender-based violence prevention and support activities, over 200 survivors of violence through legal and psychosocial support; over 1,300 people were reached with online information, also through the U-Report on the Move digital platform.
In order to deal with the crisis in Ukraine, Unicef, together with UNHCR and partners in the region, has also activated two blue dots in Trieste, which has supported over 2,600 people in just over a month’s activity, including over 1,000 girls and boys. (TO SAY)