In commemoration of International Migrants Day, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has called on governments to ensure that all children, including those refugees, migrants, and displaced, are prioritized in pandemic response and recovery efforts.


The UNICEF, through a survey of 159 countries gathered, said of the estimated 272 million international migrants globally, 33 million are children, including 12.6 million child refugees, and 1.5 million asylum-seekers.

The UN children’s agency said that India alone hosted an estimated 93 million child migrants.

Globally, 21.5 million children have been internally displaced due to conflict, violence, and disasters, it added.

 “The results of this survey are a flashing red warning sign that the most vulnerable children are being left on their own to manage the fallout from the pandemic,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said in a statement Friday.

 “With the right support at the right time, children on the move can contribute invaluable talent to their new homes – skills that countries should leverage to recover from the pandemic,” Fore added.

The UNICEF has expressed concern on the increasingly negative perceptions and hostility expressed toward children as the socioeconomic crisis generated by COVID-19 worsens and millions of migrants return home to countries with increasing rates of unemployment.

The agency said 39 percent of its country offices reported an increased tension against migrant and displaced populations as well as returnees, with the number rising to nearly 50 percent of countries in fragile contexts.

“UNICEF calls for more global investment to support these children, and stands ready to work with governments to achieve the positive benefits that migration offers children,” Fore said.