UNICEF reported on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016, that a staggering 50 million refugees worldwide are children. 45 percent of those people reside in or are trying to flee from Syria or Afghanistan. The UNICEF report contained 71 pages of documented statistics, such as, “1 in 3 children living outside their country of birth.”
This report comes from Uprooted: The growing crisis for refugee and migrant children. UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Justin Forsyth stated the purpose of the report is to ensure these child refugees are included in the U.N. General Assembly debate on September 19 and 20.
According to UNICEF, war and poverty are reasons children and their families escape from their homes and seek survival. Oftentimes they try to flee to receiving countries, such as Greece. Unfortunately, as many as, 100,000 children do not make it with their families. They are ripped apart by violence or other forms of abuse, such as human trafficking or rape.
UNICEF also states that up to 28 million of these children are uprooted, which means they are forced to evacuate from their homes, mostly due to war. In 2015, the orphaned children applied for 78 asylum in different countries, the number increasing steadfast in over a year, according to UNICEF.
The war in Syria gained attention again when the image of 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh surfaced on the internet. The young boy was pictured with two other children; traumatized with sad eyes and covered in soot and blood. Included in a series of innocent tragedies is Alan Kurdi, another young boy found washed up on shore, in Syria, due to a violent outbreak.
The war in Syria has impacted its citizens for the past five years. Over 250,000 victims have perished in the act of protesting, against President Bashar al-Assad. According to UNICEF, the number of perished child refugees increased by over four million in 10 years.
Child refugees are more susceptible when abandoned by perished or separated families, due to migration incidents, they are left without documentation, in countries outside of their birth or within war zones.
UNICEF urges protection for child refugees. This would include the evacuation of abandoned children, or accompanying children to safe locations. Youngsters can then be kept in schools and cared for, which would result in a better life and future for them.
Child refugees are victimized in the countries of Iraq, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Yemen, and South Sudan. UNICEF states the brutality forcing the children from their homes is due to gang violence manifestation, poverty wages within the countries, and angering political infestation.
At one point, the U.S. attempted to arm and train 5,000 rebels to fight in Syria, however, the program was abandoned. There are ways citizens can help Syrian refugees by donating online to different contributing websites that allocate funds to doctors and health care for victims. Medical professionals in Syria are scarce and sometimes even have to work from secret underground hospitals.
UNICEF is providing essential necessities. such as food, water, and immunization specialties for children, in Syria, and refugees in neighboring countries. UNICEF launched a Back to Learning campaign for the children and they are providing counseling.
By Andrea Lopez
Edited by Jeanette Smith
CBSNEWS: 50 million kids have fled their homes; “people just like you”
AL JAZEERA: UNICEF: 50 million children uprooted by crises
NBCNEWS: UNICEF Report Finds Half of All Refugees Are Now Children
BBC News: Syria: The story of the conflict
CNN: How to help Syrian refugees
Image Courtesy of Humanitarian aid in Donetsk’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License