Frontline Stories

5 Things All Children Fleeing Conflict Need

Around the world, children are bearing the burden of adult conflicts and violence beyond their control. A recent report by UNICEF revels that nearly 30 million children have been forcibly displaced. That means one in every 200 children is a refugee. We believe that every child should be cared for and kept safe from violence and exploitation. Children refugees are bearing the burden of adult conflicts. They deserve special treatment. Here are five things we believe every child needs when fleeing conflict.

1) To be with their families or a responsible caregiver

Preventing separation and supporting family reunification is of utmost importance to children and it plays a vital role in their protection and well-being. It is the obligation of countries to ensure that family reunification is made possible. Family reunification rules vary greatly across the world, which can pose problems for children in accessing their right to family reunification.

2) Special treatment if they are separated from family

Unaccompanied or separated children need special attention, because they are subjected to violence and exploitation more easily. It can be daunting for a young person to identify as an unaccompanied child, particularly when the next steps are unclear. Appropriate systems of guardianship should be put in place and children have to be registered. Children need access to correct and consistent information about their rights and the procedures for identifying themselves as legal minors.

3) Not to be detained

Detention is never in the best interests of the child, even if it is for their perceived safety. Countries who receive children and families seeking asylum need to make provision, and be supported to do so, to process applications quickly and efficiently.

4) Their best interests to be everyone’s priority

Children suffer the effects of adult wars. They should not be held responsible. Their best interests must be the principle of how they should be treated as they flee conflict. Governments need to have clear and practical guidelines, developed in collaboration with child rights experts, to ensure a globally harmonised application of the “best interests of the child” principle.

5) To be safe, educated, and fed

Children fleeing conflict no longer know when the next meal will take place, nor have a sense of security in their lives or a place to be educated. World Vision and other organisations race to meet these needs of children fleeing conflict all over the world every day.

Our priority is always to save lives. We focus on children, especially those left vulnerable because they have lost parents or carers, or left homeless. Our first aim in an emergency is to provide immediate aid. As our response continues, we work with communities to help them build back their lives, ensuring that they are prepared for future emergencies. Emergency responses in conflict zones include working towards peaceful outcomes.

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