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Children on the Move Blog Series: Running from Conflict and Violence

You only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.
                   -Warsan Shire

Some come from places where war is without end.

The numbers of protracted emergencies – conflicts that have lasted for over five years – are growing.

As well, fifteen new conflicts have broken out or reignited in the past five years.

They flee the brutalities of civil war and gang-related violence, assault, rape, recruitment, disappearance and murder.

7.6 million Syrian children in need of humanitarian assistance with more than three million children internally displaced. Across the region another two million Syrian children now live as refugees in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq. Most live in poverty.

In Afghanistan, one in five children is born in a refugee camp; one of every four children dies before his or her fifth birthday; only 10 percent of pregnant women receive maternal health care; and only 3 percent of girls, and 39 percent of boys, are enrolled in school.

In Africa, one-third of all children live in fragile and conflict-affected contexts – with increasing competition over access to natural resources and land which are continually diminishing as a result of climate change and unsustainable demographic pressure. South Sudan and Somalia have known nothing but conflict for decades, displacing millions of people.

“When we came to the [Protection of Civilians site], it was crowded, the insecurity was too much inside and outside, the area flooded, we were sheltering in tents. It was impossible to find a school.” Sixteen-year-old Nyaruon, 16, South Sudan.

In Central America hundreds of thousands of children flee situations of harm and violence, including gang-related violence, murder, disappearance, assault, and rape and recruitment. Central America is one of the most dangerous places to be a child, with El Salvador having the highest rates of child murder in the world, followed by neighbouring Guatemala.

And in Asia nearly 170,000 refugees and migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh are estimated to have made the dangerous journey from the Bay of Bengal since 2012.

But as the crises mount and linger, refugees and migrants are taking longer journeys to find safety and a future. Europe has been the destination in the past year of more than one million asylum seekers.

More in the Children on the Move Blog Series:

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