Daily Current Affairs – 14th September, 2016DEVENDRA VISHWAKARMA
UNICEF Report- “Uprooted: The Growing Crisis for Refugee and Migrant Children”
The UNICEF report presents a sobering picture of the lives and situations of millions of children and families affected by violent conflict and other crises that make it seem safer to risk everything on a perilous journey than remain at home.
Closer at home, India still does not have a statutory law on refugee issues. Is it the time India should have clear guidelines to handle the refugees owing to current global refugee situation?
UNICEF Report reveals
- Children accounted for nearly half of all refugees, with the number of child refugees having doubled in the decade.
- About one in three children who live outside their country of birth is a refugee. The much smaller ratio of displacement for adults — less than one in 20 according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees — reveals the starkness of the situation.
- 28 million of the 50 million children who have migrated or been forcibly displaced across borders are said to have fled violence. There were 10 million child refugees and one million child asylum-seekers, whose status had not yet been determined. The remaining 17 million children displaced by conflict remained within their home countries’ borders.
- 45% of the children refugees came from just two countries: Syria and Afghanistan.
- Increasingly, these children are traveling alone, with 100,000 unaccompanied minors applying for asylum in 78 countries in 2015, three times the number in 2014.
- 20 million children are migrants, driven from their homes by poverty and gang violence among other things.
This highlights the brutal impact of the war on a segment of society that had little to do with the conflict directly or otherwise and has become the most vulnerable.
However, the refugees find no peace even when their motto is to get it when they leave their home which is in conflict zone.
- Refugee and migrant children face a host of risks including drowning during sea crossings, malnourishment, dehydration, kidnapping, rape and murder.
- Education of such children suffers. Even if the refugee or migrant child gets access to school, they are most likely to encounter discrimination – including unfair treatment and bullying.
- When they arrive in other countries they often face discriminations and xenophobia.
- Trafficking in boys and girls, conscription by armed groups in conflict zones and exploitation in the sex trade threatens both immediate and long-term danger to whole generations.
Contrasting worlds: There has been dramatic rise in school enrolment under a global universal primary education drive and halved infant mortality rates under MDGs. This shows the diametrically opposite worlds of children and their development prospects when the world is looking towards achieving SDGs of eliminating poverty and hunger, promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies and access to justice.
The report points to six specific actions that will protect and help displaced, refugee and migrant children:
- Protecting child refugees and migrants, particularly unaccompanied children, from exploitation and violence.
- Ending the detention of children seeking refugee status or migrating by introducing a range of practical alternatives.
- Keeping families together as the best way to protect children and give children legal status.
- Keeping all refugee and migrant children learning and giving them access to health and other quality services.
- Pressing for action on the underlying causes of large-scale movements of refugees and migrants.
- Promoting measures to combat xenophobia, discrimination and marginalization.
The recommendations of the UNICEF report are so comprehensive that anything short of swift and sweeping changes in global policy and practice are unlikely to yield tangible results.
India and its refugee policy status