Globally 36.5 million children are displaced, most since World War II

June 22, 2022

An unprecedented number of 36.5 million children were displaced by conflict, violence and other crises by the end of 2021, the highest number since World War II, according to the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF.
The figure includes 13.7 million refugees and asylum-seeking children, and nearly 22.8 million children who are internally displaced due to conflict and violence.
The displacement of children is increasing fast, with its global number shot up by 2.2 million by 2021 from the previous year, said the UN agency in a press statement on Friday.
The record number of children displaced is a direct result of cascading crises – including conflicts such as in Afghanistan, fragility in the countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Yemen.
There were 7.3 million new displacement of children as a consequence of natural disaster in 2021.
‘I hope this alarming number will move governments to prevent children from being displaced in the first place – and when they are displaced, the governments will ensure their access to education, protection, and other critical services that support their wellbeing and development now and in the future,’ said UNICEF executive director Catherine Russell.
Crises like the war in Ukraine – which has caused more than 2 million children to flee the country and displaced 3 million internally since February – come on top of this record.
Additionally, children and families are also being driven from their homes by extreme weather events, such as by drought in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, and severe flooding in Bangladesh, India and South Africa.
The global refugee population has more than doubled in the last decade, with children making up almost half of the total.
As the number of the displaced persons and refugee children reaches a record high, access to essential support and services like healthcare, education and protection is falling short, said the UNICEF.
These children can face grave risks to their well-being and safety. This is particularly true for the hundreds of thousands of unaccompanied or separated children who are at heightened risk of trafficking, exploitation, violence and abuse, according to the statement. The children account for approximately 34 per cent of detected trafficking victims globally.
The UNICEF urges the member states to put an end to harmful border management practices and child immigration detention, empower refugee, migrant and displaced youth to unleash their talents and realise their full potential, and provide equal support to all children wherever they come from.

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