U.S COMMITTEE FOR REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS
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Displaced and Alone: Protections for Unaccompanied Children from Haiti

By USCRI June 6, 2024

This month, the global community will mark World Refugee Day to honor and stand in solidarity with refugees and those forced to flee their homes. Over 110 million people are forcibly displaced around the world; 40 percent of those people are children. As conflicts and crises become increasingly protracted and new escalations of violence erupt, more children and youth are forced to flee in search of safety. Some of the most vulnerable children in migration are those who are unaccompanied or separated from their parents or legal guardians.

When children migrate unaccompanied, they face heightened risks of trafficking, exploitation, sexual and gender-based violence (GBV), and other abuses. Often their rights to education, health, and protection are undermined and they are left to cope with substantial amounts of trauma. Unaccompanied children are, first and foremost, children and are entitled to protection and fulfillment of their rights. Children leave their home countries for a variety of reasons, but all have experienced a dangerous journey filled with horrors that no child should ever have to encounter.

An increasing number of children are fleeing unaccompanied from Haiti. Conditions in the country have rapidly deteriorated since the start of 2024 and this follows decades of violence and instability. In November 2023, USCRI detailed an increasingly desperate situation for Haiti’s children. Unfathomably so, the reality for children in Haiti today has worsened. Armed gangs now control over 80 percent of the capital city of Port-au-Prince and carry out killings, kidnappings, rape, and other acts of brutality on the civilian population, including children. Violence has restricted or cut off the delivery of humanitarian assistance, leaving 5.5 million people in need of humanitarian aid. At least 362,551 people are internally displaced in Haiti. Thousands of children have been displaced both internally and in other countries, many of whom are alone.

Click here to read the full brief.

 

USCRI, founded in 1911, is a non-governmental, not-for-profit international organization committed to working on behalf of refugees and immigrants and their transition to a dignified life.

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