Refugee children from Syria play in a makeshift camp in Idomeni, Greece. (European Pressphoto Agency)
A UK-based charity has warned that chronic underfunding of aid programmes is having a devastating impact on child refugees around the world.
War Child warned in a report that child refugees are being denied fundamental rights such as access to education or protection against forced marriage.
The shortage of funding is hitting children particularly hard, says Hannah Stoddart, director of advocacy and communications for War Child.
“I’ve just come back from Za’atari [camp] in Jordan where many Syrian refugees have no source of income and often pull their children out of school to engage in illegal forms of child labour. There are zero opportunities for higher education and it’s really sad to see when the young girls have so much ambition.”
Stoddart says the needs of displaced children go beyond the basics of food and water. “Children who have fled violence are suffering extreme trauma … There is acute long-term damage when children are not supported through trauma, or are out of school.”
The report notes that just 5 percent of global humanitarian funding is dedicated to child protection and education.
“The intensity and the protracted nature of the [Syrian] conflict means there are higher concentrations of people fleeing conflicts that seem to know no end,” Stoddart said.
Recent research by UNICEF shows some 63 million children will be forced to leave their homes by 2025, more than double the current figure of 28 million.
World leaders are due to meet in New York City on 19 September during the 71st UN General Assembly for a high-level summit on refugees and migrants.

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