On May 18, 2022, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNICEF signed a new Strategic Collaboration Framework (SCF) that aims to uphold and protect the rights of migrant children.
This new strategic collaboration is a follow-on from their 2008 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that similarly sought to protect the rights of migrant children(UNICEF press release, May 18, 2022).
Migrant and displaced children are a marginalized community, deeply affected by socioeconomic instability, conflict, and climate change. Globally, millions of migrant children are driven from their home as a result of unsuitable living conditions, leaving them vulnerable to danger, detention, deprivation, and discrimination. Moreover, migrant children are often separated from their families and caregivers, leaving them further vulnerable and without adequate care. Migrant children are often forced into child labour, subjected to human trafficking, or more.
As outlined by UNICEF, in 2020, 360 million children were listed as international migrants, with 1 in 8 refugees worldwide a child. Refugee and migrant children are 5 times more likely to not have access to educational resources, including traditional schooling, or ad-hoc resources.
“Around the world, migrant children are facing alarming levels of xenophobia, the socioeconomic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, and limited access to essential services. The growing partnership between UNICEF and IOM will improve our ability to reach these children with the services, support, and protection they need to make the most of their lives,” stated UNICEF Executive Director, Catherine Russell.
“Strengthening our relationship, UNICEF and IOM will continue to enhance the capacities of a large spectrum of actors, including Civil Society and governmental authorities, to assist these children according to their rights and needs,” outlined IOM Director General António Vitorino.
Some of the key priorities mentioned in the SCF are:
- Building capacity for organizations directly involved in assisting migrant children.
- Data collection, dissemination, and analysis to support and guide evidence-based decision-making around enabling effective support mechanisms for migrant children.
- Increasing collaboration between different actors and organizations working for the protection of migrant children.
- Influencing policies at the local and international level to strengthen protection and assistance for migrant children.
Through this Strategic Collaboration Framework, UNICEF and IOM work to address the urgent global challenges surrounding migrant children populations, and seek to support and establish similar collaborative frameworks to ensure the safety and livelihood of migrant children.
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