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Child migration: York academic urges action with UNICEF

Posted on 19 September 2016

A University of York academic has contributed to a new UNICEF campaign urging world leaders to act on improved cooperation on child migration.

Dr Simon Parker, Director of York’s School of Social and Political Sciences and lead investigator for the Precarious Trajectories research project on the Mediterranean migration crisis, is one of four experts to add their voice to UNICEF Innocenti’s Research Watch.

Under the theme of Children on the Move, Research Watch is an online portal for researchers and policy analysts to explore current research and address pivotal questions around UNICEF’S new global migration report, Uprooted: The Growing Crisis for Migrant and Refugee Children.

Providing expert videos, written commentaries and in-depth podcasts, Research Watch is promoted internationally ahead of a major UNGA Summit on Large Scale Movements of Refugees and Migrants on 19 September and President Obama's upcoming Leaders’ Summit on Refugees on 20 September.

Dr Simon Parker said: "Since the tragic death of Alan Kurdi last year, more than 5,700 people have died trying to escape from the violence of war, persecution and poverty around the world. According to UNICEF, of the 50 million people subject to forcible displacement, 28 million are children. These children are especially vulnerable to death or injury along the route and are frequently subject to physical and psychological trauma.

“Our research confirms that by denying children safe and legal routes to escape conflict zones, European states are contributing to the loss of more lives at sea and trapping children in unsafe and harmful environments. As world leaders begin to gather for the UN General Assembly Summit for Refugees and Migrants and President Obama's Leaders' Summit on Refugees in New York on 19 and 20 September, it is incumbent on world leaders to put the rights and safety of refugee and migrant children at the heart of their policy agenda.

“When children are forced to make perilous journeys to escape danger we need governments to join forces with civil society organisations to ensure their safety and well-being. The UN Summit offers an important opportunity to remind the world that no-one chooses to be a refugee and that those least able to protect themselves--especially children travelling alone--deserve our love, care and protection."

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