50 Million Children uprooted by conflict worldwide

Tommy Conroy, Staff writer

According to a recent report released by UNICEF, the The United Nations Children’s Fund, nearly 50 million children are displaced worldwide from a plethora of factors outside of their control, such as warfare and poverty.

In their report titled Uprooted: The growing crisis for refugee and migrant children, UNICEF underlays the shocking truth of the millions of displaced children around the world.

“Children represent a disproportionate and growing proportion of those who have sought refuge outside their countries of birth: they make up about a third of the global population but about half of all refugees,” the report stated.

Of these refugees, 28 million have fled violent conflict, whereas 20 million more have left their homelands in search of a better, safer life. In 2015, around 45 percent refugees came from Syria and Afghanistan.

According to Uprooted, Turkey hosts the largest total number of recent refugees, and very likely the largest number of child refugees in the world. Relative to its population, Lebanon hosts the largest number of refugees by an overwhelming margin: roughly 1 in 5 people in Lebanon is a refugee.

By comparison, there is roughly 1 refugee for every 530 people in the United Kingdom; and 1 for every 1,200 in the United States.

“All of these children, whether they’re fleeing Central America and gang violence or war in Africa or from Syria are threatened by traffickers and smugglers and they desperately need our protection and our help in getting an education and a future,” Justin Forsyth, deputy executive director of UNICEF said.

The report did not just deal with general statistics. It cites numerous incidents related to children displaced by global turmoil. One example of this is five-year-old Syrian boy Omran Daqneesh, who sat shell-shocked, injured, and alone in the back of ambulance after his home had been demolished in an air strike.

Another example is Alan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian boy who was found drowned on a Turkish beach.

The report necessitates the creation, or in some cases the enforcement, of safe and legal routes for wayward children. This way, education and security will be able to be properly administered to help these children who have already lost so much.

“What price will we all pay if we fail to provide these young people with opportunities for education and a more normal childhood? How will they be able to contribute positively to their societies? If they can’t, not only will their futures be blighted, but their societies will be diminished as well,” UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said.

Unfortunately, a refugee child is five times more likely to be out of school, and thus are unable to obtain the education they need. Furthermore, those refugee children in school are likely to face xenophobia, discrimination, and bullying.

Overall, a staggeringly large amount of children have been forced to flee their homes in search of something better. This UNICEF report looks to spread awareness of this, and hopes to garner aid that will allow these children not to become just another statistic.