Gambian asylum seekers discuss their journey together while looking at a map on the wall at a Hot Spot, a reception center in Sicily in May 2016. ©UNICEF/UN020011/Gilbertson VII Photo

An Agenda for Action

UNICEF’s call for practical action and public engagement to help protect every child uprooted by war, violence and poverty.

Nearly 50 million children are on the move — 28 million of them driven from their homes by conflict, and millions more migrating in the hope of finding a better, safer life. Far too many children encounter deadly danger, detention, deprivation and discrimination. The world must stand up for these children. It is time to take action to:

A boy is carried by a family member walking between makeshift tents along the train tracks in Greece in March 2016 © UNICEF/UN012792/Georgiev

PROTECT UPROOTED CHILDREN FROM EXPLOITATION AND VIOLENCE

Refugee and migrant children are extremely vulnerable to violence and abuse, and to being preyed upon by smugglers and even enslaved by traffickers.

UNICEF calls for increasing safe and legal channels for children to migrate and to seek refuge. Cracking down on trafficking, strengthening child protection systems and expanding access to information and assistance can help keep children safe. Children and families should never be returned to face persecution or life- threatening danger in their countries of origin.

A migrant gestures from behind the bars of a cell at the detention centre in Libya in January 2017. © UNICEF/UN052608/Romenzi

END THE DETENTION OF REFUGEE AND MIGRANT CHILDREN BY CREATING PRACTICAL ALTERNATIVES

Detention is harmful to children’s health and wellbeing — and can undermine their development.

UNICEF calls for options including foster care, supervised independent living, and other family- or community-based living arrangements for unaccompanied children and children who have been separated from their families. Children should not be detained in adult facilities.

Amira,24 , Khalid, 33, and their daughter Jannat, 7 (centre), refugees from the destroyed Syrian Arab Republic City of Homs, prepare to board a bus in Šid, taking them to a train station to travel to Croatia. They are traveling with their other children Amr, 7, and their youngest son, Karam, 4. © UNICEF/UN05626/Gilbertson VII Photo

KEEP FAMILIES TOGETHER

Children who are traveling alone or who have been separated from their families are more easily preyed upon and more vulnerable to violence and abuse.

UNICEF calls for stronger policies to prevent children from being separated from their parents and other family members at border crossings; and faster procedures to reunite children with their families in destination countries.

Mohammed, 14, a Syrian refugee from Kobani, works underneath a car at a repair shop in Erbil, Iraq in March 2016. © UNICEF/UN020145/Yar

HELP UPROOTED CHILDREN TO STAY IN SCHOOL AND STAY HEALTHY

After fleeing their homes, many refugee and migrant children miss out on an education — and many lack access to health care and other essential services.

UNICEF calls for increased collective effort by governments, communities and the private sector to provide uprooted children with access to an education and health services, and to shelter, nutrition, water and sanitation. A child’s migration status should never be a barrier to accessing basic services.

On the shore of Suchiate river between Guatemala and Mexico, in July 2016 the formal customs and migration check point is just few meters away from here. This point of the river is used to transport consumer products, and sometimes people, on makeshift rafts. © UNICEF/UN027464/Volpe

PRESS FOR ACTION ON THE CAUSES THAT UPROOT CHILDREN FROM THEIR HOMES

Protracted conflicts, persistent violence, and extreme poverty and disadvantage drive millions of children from their homes.

UNICEF calls for greater effort to protect children from conflict and to address the root causes of violence and poverty, including by increasing access to education, strengthening health systems and social safety nets, expanding opportunities for family income and youth employment, and facilitating peaceful conflict resolution and tolerance.

Ahmad,15, is seen reflected in a window as he travels travel home from a Volkshochschule, or a community college, from learning German in Braunschweig in December 2015. Ahmad and his bother Ali, 17, are refugees and unaccompanied minors from Lebanon. © UNICEF/UN04426/Gilbertson VII Photo

COMBAT XENOPHOBIA AND DISCRIMINATION

­­Uprooted children are often victimized by discrimination, xenophobia and stigma — both on their journeys and in their final destinations.

Everyone has a part to play in welcoming uprooted children into our cities and communities. UNICEF calls on local leaders, religious groups, NGOs, the media and the private sector to help combat xenophobia and facilitate greater understanding between uprooted children and families with host communities. Governments should also set up stronger measures to combat discrimination and marginalization in countries of transit and destination.


Learn more about UNICEF’s work with children on the move. #ChildrenUprooted

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated UNICEF’s story.