Massive data gaps leave refugee, migrant and displaced children in danger and without access to basic services – UNICEF, IOM

Human Rights/Protection – Refugee, Migrant, Displaced Children

Massive data gaps leave refugee, migrant and displaced children in danger and without access to basic services
Joint press release – UNICEF, IOM
An estimated 28 million children were living in forced displacement in 2016, but the true figure is likely much higher Download ‘A Call to Action’ here: http://uni.cf/uprooted_data

YORK, 15 February 2018 – Gaps in data covering refugees, asylum seekers, migrants and internally displaced populations are endangering the lives and wellbeing of millions of children on the move, warned five UN and partner agencies today. In ‘A call to action: Protecting children on the move starts with better data’, UNICEF, UNHCR, IOM, Eurostat and OECD together show how crucial data are to understanding the patterns of global migration and developing policies to support vulnerable groups like children.

The Call to Action confirms alarming holes in the availability, reliability, timeliness and accessibility of data and evidence that are essential for understanding how migration and forcible displacement affect children and their families. For example:
– There is recorded information on age for just 56 per cent of the refugee population under UNHCR’s mandate;
– Only 20 per cent of countries or territories with data on conflict-related internally displaced persons (IDP) break it down by age;
– Nearly a quarter of countries and territories do not have age disaggregated data on migrants, including 43 per cent of countries and territories in Africa; and
– Lack of information on migrant and displaced children deprives the affected children of protection and services they need.

“Information gaps fundamentally undermine our ability to help children,” said Laurence Chandy, UNICEF Director for the Division of Data, Research and Policy. “Migrant children, particularly those who migrate alone, are often easy targets for those who would do them harm. We can’t keep children safe and provide them with lifesaving services, both in transit and at their destination, if we don’t know who they are, where they are or what they need. We urge Member States to fill these gaps with reliable disaggregated data and to improve cooperation so that data is shared and comparable.”

“Many refugee children have experienced or witnessed appalling violence and suffering in their countries of origin and sometimes also during their flight in search of protection and security. They need and deserve care and protection but in order to provide this, we need data on their identity and needs. In no area is coordination on data and strengthening capacity more important than for children, especially the most vulnerable,” said Volker Türk, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection.

“We need reliable and better data on child migrants to protect them and guarantee their best interests. Data disaggregation by age, sex and origin can inform policymakers of the real needs of child migrants. This will ensure that no child is left behind and that they are not exploited. All migrant children are entitled to care and protection regardless of their migratory status,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.

“Time is of the essence when it comes to integration into education,” said OECD Director for Employment Labour and Social Affairs Stefano Scarpetta. “Success or failure at this vulnerable age can have lifelong labour market consequences. Only with a comprehensive knowledge – backed up by appropriate data – can we identify and address the needs of these children, better protect them and build upon their skills and capabilities as they make their way through the school system and into the labour market.”…

In the absence of reliable data, the risks and vulnerabilities facing children on the move remain hidden and unaddressed. In some contexts, children who cross borders irregularly may be held in detention alongside adults or prevented from accessing services that are essential for their healthy development, including education and healthcare. Even in high income countries, the number of refugee and migrant children out of school is unknown because it is not counted…

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UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore introductory remarks at the Solutions Summit, Stakeholders for End Violence Session
STOCKHOLM, Sweden, 14 February 2018 – “Your Majesty Queen Silvia. Your Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria. Prime Minister Löfven. Deputy Secretary General Mohammed. Honoured guests. Young people — young citizens. Welcome, everyone. And a special thank you to Sweden, for hosting this important summit.

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Tackling sexual exploitation and abuse of children: Actions and commitments by UNICEF
STOCKHOLM, 14 February 2018 – “Sexual exploitation and abuse of children under any circumstances is reprehensible. No organization is immune from this scourge and we are continuously working to better address it. When it comes to the protection of children, we are determined to act. There is no room for complacency.