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Refugees, internally displaced persons and child soldiers

Don Bosco IDP camp, Dili, Timor-Leste
Displaced by violence in Timor-Leste

The Issues

The number of civil conflicts in our region has considerably reduced in the past decade. But many previously displaced people are still waiting to be resettled while poverty, sectarian violence and development projects continue to drive many families out of their homes. Armed forces and rebel armies also still recruit children in our region, particularly in Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines.

  • Dangers during flight. Children can fall victim to violence, disease, malnutrition and death as they flee. They may become separated from their families, placing them in danger of forced recruitment, human trafficking, hazardous labour and sexual exploitation.
  • Risks in camps. Crowded conditions and poverty in refugee and internally displaced persons (IDP) camps increase people’s vulnerability to disease, violence, abuse and exploitation. Displaced children also face discrimination and incarceration and often lack legal identities – a factor that makes them attractive to human traffickers.
  • Lack of legal recognition. Many countries in our region have yet to ratify the 1951 UN Convention on refugees and do not recognize internally displaced populations within national boundaries.

UNICEF in Action

UNICEF believes that all children have the same rights to food, health and education, as well as the right to preserve their identity. We seek to help refugee and IDP children by:



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