In the last two years, Europe has experienced its largest arrival of refugees ever, a situation that has cast doubt of the capability of many member states to offer asylum to many people, the majority of whom, have fled armed conflicts.
In every crisis, beyond all the people who embark on certain journeys with the hope of a safer life, there are victims who are even more vulnerable, and thus, punished even more at the expense of migration. These victims are children.
The following statistics were published by UNICEF in their report “Uprooted: The growing crisis for refugee and migrant children”. These are some facts, which should catch the attention of every country in the world:
- Almost 50 million children all over the world have crossed their borders or have had been forced to migrate.
- Of these 50 million, 11 million are refugees and have had to seek asylum.
- Almost 1 of every 3 children who live outside of their birth country is a refugee.
- In the world today, 1 out every 200 children is a refugee.
- Between 2005 and 2015, the number of children refugees under UNHCR mandate more than doubled.
- Children today represent half of all refugees.
- Migrant children and displaced people are exposed to suffering the worst types of abuse, frequently falling in the hands of trafficker networks and other criminals.
- To establish yourself in a safe place proves difficult for the displaced people and, normally, the threats and dangers that confront them take place once they are in their destination country.
Children thus become the most exposed victims to the danger of migration. Protecting them is everyone’s responsibility and everybody should do their part to do protect them.
Some of the proposals that UNICEF make to fight against this situation are ending the detention of child migrants, keeping the migrant families together as a way to protect the younger ones, giving children access to education and healthcare, as well as other quality services and promoting the fight against xenophobia, discrimination and exclusion in the transit and destination countries.