The rights, protection and well-being of uprooted children should be central commitments of global migration policies, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Thursday, as it released a new report prior to its conference next week in Puerto Vallarta on safe, regular and orderly migration.
The director of programs of UNICEF, Ted Chaiban, has underlined that the leaders who will be summoned to Puerto Vallarta can work together to make migration safe for children and stressed that it is possible, even in countries with limited resources, to adopt measures that effectively support refugee and migrant children when they are still in their countries of origin, when they cross borders and when they reach their destinations.
It is estimated that some 50 million children are in transit around the world, of which 28 million have had to leave their homes due to an armed conflict. Children represent around 28 percent of the victims of trafficking globally, although in the case of sub-Saharan Africa and Central America the proportion shoots up to 64 and 62 percent, respectively.
UNICEF has presented the report ‘Beyond Borders: How to Make Global Pacts on Migration and Refugees Safeguard Uprooted Children’, which includes practices and examples to safeguard a group that is especially vulnerable to xenophobia, abuse, sexual exploitation and lack of access to social services.
The organization also proposes a six-point program on migrant children that urges, in the first place, to “protect refugee and migrant children against exploitation and violence, in particular unaccompanied children.” Some 200,000 unaccompanied children requested asylum in around 80 countries in 2015-2016.
The organization also advocates to end the detention of migrant children or asylum seekers through “adequate alternatives”. In this regard, he recalls that in the 2015-2016 period around 100,000 unaccompanied children were detained at the United States-Mexico border.
The report defends, on the other hand, the need to “keep families together” and promote measures to combat xenophobia, discrimination and marginalization, while claiming that these children have access to education and health service .
UNICEF demands in another of its points “to act on the underlying causes of the large displacements of refugees and migrants.”