Children constitute over 40 per cent of forcibly displaced and stateless persons. Situations of forced displacement and statelessness can have a lifelong, devastating impact on the lives and development of children – from infancy and childhood through to adolescence and adulthood.
Conflict and persecution expose children and their families to violence, abuse and exploitation and cause families and children to flee. As a result, forcibly displaced and stateless children face a wide range of child protection risks which include diverse forms of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect.
What is child protection?
Child protection is the prevention and response to abuse, neglect, exploitation, violence and the separation of children, and the promotion of solutions in children’s best interests.
The protection of forcibly displaced and stateless children is governed by complementary and mutually reinforcing international legal and policy frameworks. These include international standards governing the protection of refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and stateless persons, as well as the child protection provisions set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols, as well as in other international or regional instruments.
How does UNHCR protect children?
UNHCR supports authorities and works with other partners to protect children.
We take a holistic approach to protecting children. We invest in both dedicated child protection programming and leveraging our and partners' investments in protection, solutions and assistance to contribute to the protection of children. We protect children by:
- strengthening inclusive child protection systems
- supporting children, families and communities to protect children
- [when needed] providing supplementary child protection services for children at risk
- strengthening child-friendly protection and solutions
- promoting children’s safety and prevent harm through sectoral responses
- strengthening child participation and child-friendly communication and accountability.
UNHCR is committed to ensuring that children, adolescents and youth are protected from harm and that their rights are upheld through the provision of psychosocial support and targeted programmes to meet their specific protection and developmental needs. We work with families, communities, national authorities, other international and local organisations, and with children, adolescents and youth themselves.
With your help, we strive to ensure that:
- all girls and boys are safe where they live, learn and play;
- those who are unaccompanied or separated are cared for and have access to family tracing and reunification services;
- newborns are registered at birth and children with disabilities are supported;
- children associated with armed groups and armed forces receive the necessary support to be reintegrated into their communities;
- children, adolescents and youth can rebuild their lives through psychosocial support and recreational activities and education