“The risks and challenges for internally displaced children and the urgent actions needed to protect them”-‘Lost at Home’ Report UNICEF
‘Lost at Home’ Report UNICEF defines Internal displacement as follows:
Internal displacement can happen suddenly, following an environmental disaster like a hurricane or an earthquake. It may occur over a short, intense period of civil war; it may take place slowly and continually over decades; it may be the result of public or private sector development projects.
This report presents the scale and scope of the internal displacement of children and their families around the world. In many countries, internally displaced children persistently lack access to basic services. They are vulnerable to abuse, violence and exploitation as social norms break down and protective services are no longer available, and often their education is disrupted by delaying or entirely interrupting their learning.
Today, more children than ever before are displaced within their own countries. In many countries, internally displaced children persistently lack access to basic services. They are vulnerable to abuse, violence and exploitation as social norms break down and protective services are no longer available, and often their education is disrupted by delaying or entirely interrupting their learning.
At the end of 2019, approximately 45.7 million people were internally displaced by conflict and violence.
Looking ahead, climate-related resource scarcity and conflicts will likely continue to trigger massive – and extensive – displacement
Internal Displacement in India:
Over 5 million people internally displaced in India in 2019, says UN report ‘Lost at Home’ report constituting the highest number of new internal displacements in the world during the period followed by the Philippines, Bangladesh and China, according to a UN report.
The report said that natural disasters resulted in more new displacements than conflict and violence.
- India, the Philippines, Bangladesh and China all suffered from natural disasters leading to displacement in the millions, which accounted for 69% of global disaster-induced displacements. These were overwhelmingly caused by extreme conditions created by dangerous storms and floods, the report said, adding that globally, around 8.2 million disaster-related displacements are estimated to have been related to children.
- In India, the total number of new internal displacements in 2019 stood at 5,037,000 – including 5,018,000 due to natural disasters and 19,000 because of conflict and violence.
- The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic stands to bring even more harm and uncertainty to their lives, it said.
- Camps or informal settlements are often overcrowded, and lack adequate hygiene and health services. Physical distancing is often not possible, creating conditions that are highly conducive to the spread of the disease, the report said.When new crises emerge, like the COVID-19 pandemic, these children are especially vulnerable, said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
- The report looks at the risks internally displaced children face —child labour, child marriage, trafficking among them — and the actions urgently needed to protect them.
- It calls for strategic investments and a united effort by governments, civil society, companies, humanitarian actors and children themselves to address the child-specific drivers of displacement, in particular, violence, exploitation and abuse.
- It also calls on governments convening under the High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement, established by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, to invest in actions that will provide protection and equitable access to services for all internally displaced children and their families.
What can be done?
‘What the ‘Lost at Home’ report suggests?
Protection at home
The protection and support of internally displaced children must also include the many dimensions that will affect their lives when displacement ends. To this end, key recommendations include:
- Ensure the safety of returnees. Internally displaced children and their families must be protected from attacks, harassment, intimidation and persecution or any other form of punitive action upon return to their home communities.
- Support returnee children and families to rebuild their homes. Returnees should be supported with access to mechanisms for property restitution or compensation to support reconstruction of their houses.
- Recognize the needs of reintegration as similar to the needs of displacement. Governments should provide reintegration assistance to all children and families and prioritize access to education, health, social protection and psychosocial support, alongside inclusion in national and local systems and services that brings returnee and local children together.
- UNICEF calls on the Panel to ensure principles and practices that provide a safe home, protection and equitable access to services for every internally displaced child are front and centre, for the benefit of children, communities and countries.These measures will also provide important momentum towards our joint commitment to achieving the SDGs.
Critical to delivering on this agenda is better, timely and accessible data and evidence, disaggregated by age and gender, to improve
our understanding of how internal displacement affects children and their families. Internally displaced children and youth themselves must have a seat at the table, be taken seriously and offered the opportunity to be part of the solution.
In countries around the globe, governments and partners are working to address some of the root causes of displacement. Many of these efforts are linked to programmes and policies aimed at achieving the SDGs
At the launch of the global humanitarian response plan for COVID-19, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that those in internal displacement are among the “ultra-vulnerable”. UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore has called children the “hidden victims” of the coronavirus. “For children on the move or living through conflicts, the consequences will be unlike any we have ever seen,” she said. “We must not let them down.”
Source:The Hindu and UNICEF