World Refugee Day explained to children

Who are the refugees? Why is it being talked about more and more often? How to deal with this delicate problem with the little ones

Explain to the children who the refugees are

Since 2001 has International Refugee Daya very important anniversary – born in memory of the 1951 approval of Convention on the Status of Refugees of the UN – which serves not to forget the many people who each year are forced to leave their homes, their families and their countries of origin due to wars or natural disasters. Then, in 2022, the terrible news from Ukraine and the consequent expulsion of millions of civilians to European borders brought the refugee figure back to much topicality, which stimulated a natural curiosity among the little ones towards these men, women and – above all – children coming to our cities to flee war.

In this article

Who are the refugees?

As the word itself says, is the refugee the one who runs away and seeks “refuge” somewhere far from where it came from. The complete definition was given by Convention on the Status of Refugees drafted in 1951 by the Geneva Convention to define it status legal status of this complex figure. According to this charter – amended and improved in 1967 – the refugee is:

“Anyone in justified fear of being persecuted because of race, religion, citizenship, affiliation with a particular social group or political position, is outside the State of which he is a national and may or for this fear does not wish to apply for protection of that State; or anyone who is stateless (deprived of any citizenship oath) and is out of his state of residence as a result of these events, cannot or for the fear stated above does not wish to return ».

Refugees, often also called refugees, are therefore people who can no longer live in their country because staying there would risk their lives (and often those of their relatives as well).

On the other hand, those who run away from their home state because they have committed one crime o serious acts in violation of international law, can not find asylum in another country as a refugee. Also those who have lived for a certain period in a foreign country without asking for it status of refugees can not suddenly ask to be recognized as such.

What rights does a refugee have?

When you recognize it status refugee, no state can deport or send home those seeking asylum. This principle, called the “principle of non-refoulement”, is valid for every nation on the planet, and not just for those who have signed the Geneva Convention.

When a refugee is accepted, in addition to the rights guaranteed by the aforementioned Convention, it also enjoys all the rights (and duties) that govern the host country. In Italy, for example, a refugee arrives. in possession of a identification documenta document that allows him to move within the country and the residence permit. In those cases where it is a family that has taken refuge in our country, then so be it have the right to be reunited and live in the same place.

Who supervises and cares for the refugees?

There are more international organizations who work to ensure respect for the rights of all those who have attained refugee status.

The main organ is, howeverUNHCR, The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which operates in 135 countries around the world and cares for over 80 million people. This agency was established by the United Nations General Assembly on 14 December 1950 and acts in cooperation with governments for ensure the well-being and protection of refugeesin, to help them find a welcome and, in the event of an emergency, return to their places of origin in full safety. For its relentless activity, the UNHCR has seen it awarded two Nobel Peace Prize winners in 1954 and 1981.

Of course, they also contribute to the international relief concert onlus, organizations not governatove and the Red Crossall basic bodies for assistance in the field of the needy and the identification of those who can make their request for recognition of status refugee.

The emergency numbers: when refugees are children

As is often the case in the great tragedies of the planet, the defenseless, women and children, who represent almost half of the world’s refugees, often pay the highest price for wars and disasters. Even today, in fact, many minors are deprived of the carefree childhood to flee from their homes and their loved ones. In 2021, for example, 13.7 million children in the world were refugees and asylum seekers, and almost 22.8 million children were internally displaced in their country due to conflict and violence. It is the highest number ever recorded since World War II, and the figures still do not include children displaced by climate and environmental disasters or children displaced by the war in Ukraine.

In this context, on the occasion of International Refugee Day 2022, UNICEF called on the international community to take six urgent measures to improve the situation.

  • Provide 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;
  • Stop harmful border management practices and detention of immigrant children.
  • Give young refugees, migrants and displaced persons the chance to unleash their talents and realize their full potential.

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