It is alarming that “nearly 50 million children have migrated across borders or been forcibly displaced”, according to UNICEF report. Irrespective of the root causes, these children and adolescents must be protected against all forms of human rights abuses and violations.
- Children forced to flee or decide to leave their homes because of multiple causes. Unaccompanied or separated from their families, they face many risks – both physical and psychological. At destination countries, limited access to legal residency status becomes a major driver of poverty among forced migrant populations. Such vulnerable children with interrupted schooling, lack of medical care, psychological trauma and sexual abuse, can indulge in crime or become the subject of grave crimes themselves such as human trafficking, smuggling and involuntary organ donation.
- These children must not be treated as criminals subject to detention. Rather be dealt with the principle of keeping “the best interest of child” at the core of every policy. The Declaration, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and International Law must be adhered to particularly in immigration policies.
- The trending discourse on migration casts a very negative picture. The forced migration viewed as an adverse phenomenon consequently is pressing states to develop national approaches contrary to the Universal Declaration of human rights. Migration can have potential benefits such as an introduction of new skill sets or creating a young human resource pool in a country with an aging population if dealt with regularly and systematically.
- Today’s children will define the future of global community irrespective of their status. The collective effort should be to lift political barriers for these vulnerable children. This can be achieved through developing and strengthening social support infrastructure to ensure that forced migrant children and adolescents can be provided with opportunities. We request the panelists to share some of the possible strategies for creating cohesion between national and international systems for protection of migrant and forced migrant children and adolescents from human rights approach together with security-centric perspectives.
I thank you.