UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 7 (UPI) — Fifty million children have been displaced by worldwide conflict, and 28 million are refugees, a UNICEF report released Wednesday reveals.
The report depicts a global situation in which children, who make up about one-third of the world’s population, account for about half of those leaving home countries for safer refuge.
“Often traumatized by the conflicts and violence they are fleeing, they face further dangers along the way, including the risk of drowning on sea crossings, malnourishment and dehydration, trafficking, kidnapping, rape and even murder. In countries they travel through and at their destinations, they often face xenophobia and discrimination,” it says.
The report adds that about 45 percent of child refugees under U.N. protection are from Syria or Afghanistan; an estimated 17 million children remain displaced although they have not left their home countries; and that in 2015, 100,000 unaccompanied children crossed borders and sought asylum in 78 countries, three times the number in 2014. Turkey currently hosts the largest number of refugees, and likely the most child refugees; one person in five in Lebanon is a refugee, and Germany saw 850 violent attacks against refugee shelters in 2015.
The UNICEF study advocates safer routes for refugee children, more emphasis on education despite refugee status and a reduction in legal barriers which prevent child refugees from receiving services.