UNICEF estimates that around five million are Ukrainian minors who have had to move as a result of the war
MADRID, June 17 (EUROPE PRESS) –
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) this Friday denounced that a total of 36.5 million children have been forced to move around the world due to escalating conflict and violence, the highest number in history.
In a statement, the UN agency said that of the nearly 37 million displaced children, 13.7 are refugees and asylum-seekers, while another 22.9 million are internally displaced.
According to UNICEF, five million displaced people are Ukrainian children who had to move because of the war with Russia, of whom two million had to leave the country.
During 2021, 7.3 million children were displaced as a result of drought and severe flooding, for example in the Horn of Africa and in Bangladesh, India and South Africa.
These record numbers of child displacement are a direct result of the “cascading crisis” stemming from serious and prolonged conflicts like that in Afghanistan and the “fragility of countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Yemen”. , as Unicef explained.
Child displacement is increasing rapidly, and last year the total number of children displaced increased by 2.2 million. “We cannot ignore the evidence: the number of children displaced by conflict and crisis is increasing rapidly, and therefore our responsibility is to reach them,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.
“I hope these alarming numbers will persuade governments to prevent children from being displaced in the first place and, if that is the case, to ensure their access to education, shelter and other essential services that will ensure their well-being and development now.” and in the future support future.” in the future,” he claimed.
The refugee population has more than doubled in the past decade, with children making up almost half of the total. More than a third — 36 percent — of displaced children live in sub-Saharan Africa (3.9 million), 25 percent in Europe and Central Asia (2.6 million), and 13 percent (1.4 million) in the Middle East and Africa in North Africa.
The agency has therefore warned that as the number of displaced children increases, access to basic services such as health care, education and protection decreases.
Uprooted children face serious threats to their welfare and safety. This is especially true for the thousands of unaccompanied and unaccompanied children who are at even greater risk of being victims of human trafficking, exploitation, violence and abuse, according to UNICEF, which has recalled that children “represent approximately 34 percent of all victims of human trafficking .”
The organization has therefore called on governments to take action to achieve “equal rights and opportunities for all refugee, migrant and displaced children,” including “the provision of equitable support for all children, the recognition of migrant, refugee children and displaced persons, enhanced collective action to ensure effective access to essential services, child protection and ending harmful border management practices”.
THE ANSWER OF SPAIN
Since the start of the war in Ukraine last February, Spain has made an unprecedented response to the situation of Ukrainian refugees who have arrived in the country. “This response should be the model to be followed from now on, and for that it should become a humanitarian emergency management policy,” said José María Vera, Executive Director of UNICEF Spain.
“Our country has a unique opportunity to strengthen the entire refugee reception system and also to focus on children’s rights to include the specific needs of children and young people,” he said.
Thus, he explained that Spain and the entire European continent “are facing the great challenge of protecting migrant children, not only from Ukraine but also from other countries, with major challenges such as family separations, difficulties in registering unaccompanied and unaccompanied children or vulnerable Coordination between countries.
To address some of these difficulties, UNICEF Spain proposes measures such as foster family empowerment to achieve the emotional well-being of refugee children and youth.