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October 26, 2021



UNICEF: 28 million children worldwide are fleeing war, most are in Turkey

8.9.2016 6:54
A refugee child in Greece running to his family with a package of fruit he has been given by tourists. (PHOTO:  bau)
A refugee child in Greece running to his family with a package of fruit he has been given by tourists. (PHOTO: bau)

Yesterday the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) announced that there are 28 million children who have had to leave their homes due to wartime conflicts, while another 20 million have had to leave their homes due to criminal violence or poverty. In a document called "Uprooted", the organization states that 45 % of child refugees come from two countries, Afghanistan and Syria.

UNICEF also warned of a growing number of unaccompanied minors who are seeking asylum abroad, with 100 000 doing so in 2015. That number was three times higher than in 2014.


The country housing the most refugees in the world is Turkey. Lebanon has the highest concentration of refugees per capita.

Every fifth person now living in Lebanon is a refugee. The country with the second highest concentration of refugees is Jordan, with 87 refugees per 1 000 inhabitants, followed by Turkey, with 32 refugees per 1 000 inhabitants.

As far as Europe is concerned, Sweden holds the record for refugee reception. That country takes care of 17 refugees per 1 000 inhabitants.

Germany, the favored destination of most migrants and refugees heading for Europe, has four refugees per 1 000 inhabitants. Of the 28 million children fleeing wars or other kinds of armed conflict, 17 million are so-called Internally Displaced Persons, i.e., they are fleeing within their own country.

The remaining 11 million children have fled abroad, one million of whom are asylum-seekers whose status has not yet been determined. More and more children are fleeing alone.

Last year, 100 000 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum in 78 countries. This group of refugees is considered by UNICEF to be especially endangered, and they frequently lack any identification documents.

As many as 20 million children, according to UNICEF, have been forced to leave their homes because of gang wars or poverty. UNICEF also warns that child migrants and refugees face many risks, including abduction, dehydration, drowning during sea crossings, malnutrition, murder and rape.

After arriving in other countries, moreover, child migrants are frequently targeted with discrimination and xenophobic sentiment. "From time to time the world learns the story of an individual child refugee and is then able to aid that specific individual. When, however, we are speaking of millions, that sparks outrage and underlines the need to solve a growing number of problems," the Associated Press quotes Emily Garin, the author of the UNICEF report, as saying.

The report was commissioned by the international community in order to organzie the provision of education, medical services and protection to uprooted children and so that governments will address the root causes behind why migrants and refugees flee en masse. The country that is currently hosting the biggest number of refugees and therefore probably also the most child refugees is Turkey, according to UNICEF. 

No complete data, however, are available about their numbers. As noted above, Lebanon, whose population is 4.5 million, is the country with the highest concentration of refugees per capita.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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