Protection sought for unaccompanied refugee, migrant children, UNICEF says
May 18,2017 By:Xinhua
UNITED NATIONS, May 18, 2017 -- With the number of refugees and migrant children increasing in nearly five fold globally in five years, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday called on leaders at the Group of Seven (G7) Summit to adopt a six-point agenda to protect such youngsters.
"These children need a real commitment from governments around the world to ensure their safety throughout their journeys," UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Justin Forsyth said. "Leaders gathering next week at the G7 in Italy should lead this effort by being the first to commit to our six-point agenda for action."
Speaking to reporters in UNICEF House in New York to mark release of the agency's latest report, Forsyth said children should be protected from violence, abuse and exploitation.
"At least 300,000 unaccompanied and separated children were recorded in about 80 countries in the combined years of 2015-2016, up from 66,000 in 2010-2011," said the report which explored motivations behind their journeys and risks they faced.
"An increasing number of the children are taking highly dangerous routes, often at the mercy of smugglers and traffickers, to reach their destinations, clearly justifying the need for a global protection system to keep them safe from exploitation, abuse and death," it said.
"These children need a real commitment from governments around the world to ensure their safety throughout their journeys," said Forsyth. "Leaders gathering next week at the G7 should lead this effort by being the first to commit to our six-point agenda for action."
The report found that in 80 countries in 2015-2016, about 200,000 children traveling on their own applied for asylum and were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border, and 170,000 applied for asylum in Europe. During the same period and the first months of this year, such children accounted for 92 percent of all children arriving in Italy by sea.
UNICEF is also urging the public to stand in solidarity with children uprooted by war, violence and poverty, by supporting the six-point agenda for action.