New York: Conflict, violence, and other crises by the end of 2021 have displaced a record 36.5 million children, the largest number since World War II, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
According to a statement released by the UNHCR, the statistics include 13.7 million child refugees and asylum seekers, as well as roughly 22.8 million internally displaced people owing to conflict and violence.
The report excludes children displaced by climate and environmental shocks and disasters, as well as those displaced in 2022, including those dislocated by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
The record number is a direct result of cascading crises, including “acute and protracted conflicts such as in Afghanistan and fragility in countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Yemen—all exacerbated by the destructive impacts of climate change,” the statement added further.
UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said she hopes the alarming number will move governments to prevent children from being displaced and ensure the access of those displaced to education, protection, and other critical services.
Only half of all refugee children are registered in primary schools, while less than a quarter of refugee adolescents are in secondary schools, as a record number of displaced and refugee children are in need of support and services like healthcare, education, and protection, according to the report.
Unaccompanied or separated children, in particular, are facing a high risk of trafficking, exploitation, violence, and abuse, the agency said, adding that globally, children make up approximately 28 percent of victims of human trafficking.