Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – Conflict, violence and other crises left a record 36.5 million children displaced from their homes by the end of last year, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates – the highest number recorded since the Second World War, the agency said.
This figure includes 13.7 million child refugees and asylum-seekers, and nearly 22.8 million, who are internally displaced due to conflict and violence.
However, not included are children displaced by climate and environmental shocks or disasters, as well as those newly displaced in 2022, including by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The record number of children displaced is a direct result of cascading crises, said UNICEF, including acute and protracted conflicts such as in Afghanistan, and fragility in countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) or Yemen – all exacerbated by the destructive impacts of climate change.
Child displacement is spreading fast, the agency said. During the previous year, the global number of displaced children increased by 2.2 million.
“We can’t ignore the evidence: The number of children being displaced by conflict and crises is rapidly growing – and so is our responsibility to reach them,” said UNICEF Executive Director, Catherine Russell.
“I hope this alarming number will move governments to prevent children from being displaced in the first place”, she added, “and when they are displaced, to ensure their access to education, protection, and other critical services that support their wellbeing and development now and in the future.”