More than half of the world’s 25 million refugees are children. If 1 person is forcibly displaced every two seconds, every four seconds, that person is a child.
Forced displacement is one of the defining challenges facing the world’s children today. Conflict, violence, and persecution continue to force children from their homes and across borders in pursuit of safety. In a world where 1 child is forced to flee their home every four seconds, children need and deserve a collective global response to protect both their present and their futures.
World Vision works with children on the move around the world. We hear their stories, and we witness transformation in their lives as their families and those around them find ways to protect them. The Global Compact on Refugees, agreed to today by a host of countries, is a unique opportunity to realise the rights of children affected by forced displacement these children. Although it is a non-binding agreement, it seeks to address this worsening reality by promoting greater international responsibility sharing and commitment.
The Compact’s four objectives provide children forced to flee their homes with the best chance they have at a global commitment to change:
- Ease pressures on countries hosting refugees, 80% of which are either developing or lower middle-income faced with challenges in meeting the needs of existing populations.
- Enhance refugee self-reliance by empowering refugees to drive their own recovery through education, access to livelihood opportunities, and essential services.
- Expand access to third country solutions to ensure that the international community works collectively to provide asylum and a home to displaced children and their families.
- Support conditions in countries of origin for allow refugees to return in safety and dignity if they wish to do so.
Ensuring the voices of children are heard
Child rights and child protection are at the heart of the Refugee Compact.The active participation and engagement of refugee and host community children in their own protection and recovery is a significant feature within the compact and a priority for World Vision as we work with governments and partners to realise the promises of the Refugee Compact. Countries have committed to contribute resources and expertise towards policies and programmes in host countries that take into account the specific vulnerabilities and protection needs of displaced girls and boys, children with disabilities, adolescents, unaccompanied and separated children. In order to do this, they must seek and integrate the participation of children.
The Compact protects children’s rights to education, commits states to provide health services to children, including prevention and response to all forms of violence and sexual exploitation and provision of psycho-social support. It includes commitments to strengthen national child-protection systems, cross-border cooperation and regional partnerships to provide a continuum of protection, care and services for at-risk children.
World Vision are proud to have worked with displaced communities, a host of partners, UNHCR, and international governments to ensure the needs, challenges, and importantly voices of refugee children are strongly reflected within the Compact We are a member of the Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compact, a coalition of more than 30 humanitarian agencies who worked to promote and strengthen the voice and rights of children.