Among refugees worldwide, there are many children and adolescents compelled to flee wars, persecution and human rights violations. Children and adolescents are more vulnerable because they are often alone, without parents or other relevant figures, and more exposed to the risk of violence and abuse. This year, a great emergency aggravated by the Ukrainian crisis, involving families and children with very serious repercussions on physical and mental health. World Refugee Day on 20 June is an important time to reflect on the plight of adults and children fleeing conflict and to pay attention to the right of all refugees to be protected and rebuild their lives in dignity.
This is the precise message shared by theUN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) with the Together #WithRefugees campaign, launched for the anniversary: to raise public awareness of the right of all refugees to be protected and rebuild their lives in dignity. The campaign also included the launch of an advertisement to be aired from 16 to 20 June on the main national and local radio and television stations and in advertising circuits on board trains and buses, in stations, cinemas and motorways. The ad and information about Together #WithRefugees can be found on the UNHCR website in the dedicated press release.
Among the events organised by associations and other realities to promote the UN Refugee Agency's campaign, we would like to point out Migrant Stories, which will take place on 18 June in Vicenza (Parco Fornaci, via Carlo Farini). Organised by the Sestante Cooperative and others, the initiative also includes games, workshops and other moments of fun and discussion for children. The programme is available on the website of the Municipality of Vicenza, on the dedicated page.
On the Day, we also offer some documents and other materials concerning, in particular, Ukrainian refugee children and adolescents.
Guidelines for the protection of displaced and refugee children are available on the UNICEF website on the dedicated page, offering guidance on how authorities and aid workers can help protect children who have fled the war in Ukraine from trafficking and other forms of exploitation and abuse. According to recent UNICEF estimates, 36.5 million children have been displaced from their homes due to conflict, violence and further crises, the highest number since the Second World War; of these, 13.7 million are refugees and asylum seekers and almost 22.8 million are internally displaced due to conflict and violence. This record is further compounded by crises such as the war in Ukraine, which since February has caused more than two million children to flee the country and three million to be internally displaced.
Last March, the UNHCR and UNICEF issued a series of recommendations to local authorities, civil society organisations and volunteers on observing safeguards for children fleeing Ukraine. The full text with all the recommendations is available on the Unicef website, in the dedicated news item, and on the UNHCR website, in the dedicated press release.
In order to respond to the most urgent needs of children, women, families and others with special needs on the way, the two organisations, in partnership with others, set up two blue dots support centres in April. "Through the involvement of social workers, psychologists, legal workers, and linguistic-cultural mediators," reads the presentation of the initiative, "the blue dots present themselves as safe spaces and places of refreshment for identifying, assisting, and sending children at risk - including unaccompanied foreign children - and persons with specific needs to services on the territory; initial psycho-social support; and basic legal counselling."
On the Ministry of Education website there is a section dedicated to the welcoming of Ukrainian students, which offers indications and resources to allow children and young people fleeing the war to continue their school and educational path in the Italian system. The online space is divided into four sections: The Ministry's documents, which collects all the official documents on the welcoming of Ukrainian students; Materials for reception and learning, with contributions for the training of teachers and ideas for pedagogical and didactic reflection in schools; The stories, to make known the stories of the students and students welcomed and those of the schools that have opened their doors; The useful news, which presents the latest news related to the topics addressed on the site.
Finally, reference should be made to the regulatory framework on migrant, refugee and asylum-seeking children and adolescents established by the National Documentation and Analysis Centre for Children and Adolescents.