Three displaced children wait for their father to complete registration in the Datu Odin Sinsuat camp, Maguindanao, Philippines. © IDMC, June 2009
There are at least 13.5 million internally displaced children in the world, forced from their homes by conflicts in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. During flight and in displacement, these children become some of the most vulnerable members of society.
Internally displaced children have been forced to leave their homes behind, may have been victims of harsh violence, and may have been separated from their families. They become increasingly at risk of forced labor, forced early marriage, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, and recruitment into armed groups. See Violence, Exploitation and Abuse against Internally Displaced Children.
Displacement exacerbates poverty and can cause the breakdown of family and community structures. Faced with disintegration of their social norms, displaced children can find themselves without basic necessities such as shelter and food (see Basic Necessities for Internally Displaced Children), and their education can be disrupted or terminated (see Education for Internally Displaced Children).
National governments have the primary responsibility for ensuring children’s rights in displacement [See Children’s Rights in Displacement]. Yet in most cases, national governments do not provide sufficient assistance and protection for internally displaced children. In several countries, child protection working groups and / or monitoring systems on violations against children in armed conflict have been established, and UNICEF, the Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, and others conduct advocacy on the issue [See Other Resources].
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