In the past decade, the global refugee population has more than doubled – with children making up almost half of the world’s refugees. In 2022, a combination of new waves of violence, including the war in Ukraine, and other protracted crises around the world has continued to uproot millions of people from their homes – from Syria, to Afghanistan, Venezuela, Myanmar, South Sudan and many others.
Wherever they come from, all refugee children have equal rights, and they all need our support to grow, learn and thrive in safety.
This World Refugee Day, and every day, UNICEF stands in solidarity with all refugee children – because every child has the right to seek safety – whoever they are, wherever they come from, and whenever they are forced to flee.
Children around the world, regardless of where they are from and why they have left their homes, are children first – and have equal rights. And they all bring with them talents, skills and aspirations that can help us build better societies. Refugee children should be safe and protected, have access to vital services, and have the tools and opportunities to make their dreams come true. Including refugee children and their families is not only the right thing to do, but also the smart thing to do, as their contributions and skills greatly benefit the societies and economies in which they live.
We need to extend this welcome to all refugee children and mobilize to ensure children’s protection, inclusion, and empowerment across all refugee crises. Our solidarity must extend to all those who are fleeing conflict, persecution, violence, and human rights abuses in other regions of the world. Governments must guarantee the universal right to seek and gain asylum and expand access to resettlement and other durable solutions to all refugees.
Every refugee child has the right to seek safety, to have access to schools, health care and other vital services, and to learn and grow in a nurturing environment, free of discrimination and violence. Protecting and empowering refugee children forced to flee is our collective global responsibility.
Refugee children should be safe from violence and be able to grow up with their families. They shouldn’t have to miss school or be scared to visit the doctor. They shouldn’t be discriminated against because of where they come from. They should be able to feel at home – wherever they find themselves and wherever home is.