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Latest on the refugee and migrant crisis

Welcome to the refugee and migrant crisis information hub

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The rising number of people entering Europe in search of safety and a better life has captured the world’s attention with scenes of heartbreaking tragedy.

Travelling hundreds and thousands of miles over land and water on one of the world’s deadliest routes, people, including many children, are risking everything in the hope of reaching their goal. Sadly, the danger does not end at a border crossing. The world is facing the largest refugee crisis since World War II, with millions of families forced to flee their homes due to conflict, persecution and poverty in countries including Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. The influx is changing the landscape of our region and, indeed, the whole of Europe.

Amid this crisis, children are the most vulnerable of all. Many are travelling with their families, while many others are on their own. Every one of them is in need of protection and entitled to the rights guaranteed under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Refugee and migrant children and women, especially those migrating without documentation, are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. In countries where children are on the move or when they have reached their final destination, children and families often find themselves victims of poverty and discrimination.

UNICEF is engaging with EU Member States, UN agency partners and organizations working on the ground to ensure that programmes and policies in response to this crisis put the rights and needs of all children first. We are also working to expand humanitarian services at reception centres in countries where children on the move can access a safe place to rest, play and receive food and water, clothes, sanitation and the hygiene and protection services that they need.

At the same time, there are still millions caught in situations of conflict, displacement, poverty and underdevelopment – the main causes of the crisis – and UNICEF remains committed in its effort to supporting sustainable solutions where they are needed most. (Updated March 2016)

News and stories

Network of European Ombudspersons, child rights experts and NGOs call for action to include excluded refugee and migrant children - 16 November 2017

Growing number of unaccompanied refugee and migrant children in Greece in urgent need of shelter, care and protection - 27 October 2017

Calls for urgent action as situation for children worsens a year on from Calais camp closure - 23 October 2017

New Rankin film puts spotlight on refugee and migrant children separated from their families - 13 September 2017

Up to three quarters of children and youth face abuse, exploitation and trafficking on Mediterranean migration routes - 12 September 2017

Greece goes back-to-school with more refugee and migrant children getting into the Greek education system than ever - 11 September 2017

Children on the move from Africa do not first aim to go to Europe, new UNICEF study shows - 25 July 2017

Mediterranean rescue vessels must not be prevented from saving refugee and migrant children at sea - 17 July 2017

Europe: new Roadmap to improve the situation of unaccompanied and separated refugee and migrant children - 10 July 2017

Funding shortfalls threaten education for children living in conflict and disaster zones - 7 July 2017

EU Trust Fund contribution to UNICEF’s Syria crisis response reaches nearly €200 million - 20 June 2017

‘No place like home,’ says UNICEF advocate Ishmael Beah on World Refugee Day - 20 June 2017

In Turkey, two rounds of country-wide vaccinations target children under age five - 15 June 2017

More than 230,000 refugee children in Turkey to benefit from the conditional cash transfer for education programme - 8 June 2017

At least 200 children lost at sea trying to reach Italian shores so far this year - 25 May 2017

EU and UNICEF join hands to support Greece in protecting refugee and migrant children - 19 May 2017

Five-fold increase in number of refugee and migrant children traveling alone since 2010 - 17 May 2017

Refugee and migrant children stranded in European transit countries suffer psychologically in the face of uncertain future - 4 May 2017

Step up care for refugee and migrant children for the greater good of all in Greece - 2 May 2017

Two children drown making their way to Greece - 24 April 2017

More than 150 children estimated to have died taking Central Mediterranean migration route this year - 21 April 2017

UNICEF and UNHCR welcome EU policy to protect migrant and refugee children - 12 April 2017

UNICEF hails new Italian law to protect unaccompanied refugee and migrant children as model for Europe - 29 March 2017

One year on after EU-Turkey statement the human cost to refugee and migrant children mounts up - 17 March 2017

Hitting rock bottom: children’s suffering in Syria at its worst - 13 March 2017

Statement on impact on children on new law in Hungary - 9 March 2017

Joint press release: New European Union returns policies put children at risk - 3 March 2017

A deadly journey for children: The migration route from North Africa to Europe - 28 February 2017

Deadliest winter for refugee and migrant children crossing the Central Mediterranean - 3 February 2017

Two refugees, generations apart, tell their story in new UNICEF film - 3 February 2017

UNICEF seeks $3.3 billion in emergency assistance for 48 million children caught up in conflict and other crises - 31 January 2017

UNICEF statement on child refugees - 30 January 2017

Year-end humanitarian situation review - Turkey - January 2017

Joint EU-UNICEF project to help more than 6 000 refugee and migrant children in Greece - 25 January 2017

Young refugee and migrant children at risk as extreme cold weather grips much of Europe - 20 January 2017

UNICEF UK response to Home Office announcement on completion of Calais children assessments - 11 December 2016

Nearly a quarter of the world’s children live in conflict or disaster-stricken countries - 9 December 2016

Child Rights Agencies call on EU to put refugee and migrant children first - 29 November 2016

Children and pregnant women among those lost at sea in latest tragedy on the Mediterranean - 4 November 2016

UNICEF calls on Italian parliament to pass bill providing support for record number of unaccompanied refugee and migrant children - 28 October 2016

Statement: UNICEF calls on European Council to address plight of refugee and migrant children - 20 October 2016

Record numbers of unaccompanied children arrive in Italy - 18 October 2016

UNICEF calls for greater attention to the plight of unaccompanied children on the move through Southeast Europe - 13 October 2016

Statement by Marie Pierre Poirier, Special Coordinator for the Refugee and Migrant crisis in Europe on the situation for children in Calais - 12 October 2016

UNICEF statement on the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants - 19 September 2016       

Nearly 50 million children “uprooted” worldwide - 7 September 2016

Half a million children have risked exploitation as refugee and migrant crisis turns into big business for smugglers - 2 September 2016

Refugee and migrant children stuck in Greece face double crisis - 26 August 2016

UNICEF reports on the dangers facing unaccompanied adolescent refugees and migrants fleeing to Europe - 14 June 2016

Syrian children should be at school not at work - 11 June 2016

UNICEF receives go-ahead to scale up its response to the migrant crisis in Greece - 31 May 2016

UNICEF alarmed at refugee and migrant deaths in the Mediterranean - 29 May 2016

UNICEF Regional Director and Goodwill Ambassador Nana Mouskouri visit Greece amid ongoing refugee and migrant crisis - 25 May 2016

Unaccompanied refugee and migrant children in urgent need of protection, warns UNICEF - 6 May 2016

Revision of EU asylum procedures should provide better protection for children caught up in Europe’s migration and refugee crisis - 4 May 2016

The Government of Japan and UNIQLO provide assistance to refugee children and families in Serbia - 7 April 2016

UNICEF urges full hearings for refugee and migrant children stranded in Greece - 6 April 2016

"This crisis is complex and multifaceted – for UNICEF it is first and foremost a crisis for children" - 5 April 2016

New EU-Turkey agreement on refugee and migrants could leave children at risk: UNICEF - 22 March 2016

UNICEF urges EU leaders and Turkey to find common ground for refugee and migrant children - 18 March 2016

1 in 3 Syrian children has grown up knowing only crisis as conflict reaches 5 year point - 14 March 2016

UNICEF statement in response to the outcome of the EU Summit with Turkey - 8 March 2016

Child refugees and migrants suffer most by border restrictions, says UNICEF - 1 March 2016

UNHCR, UNICEF launch Blue Dot hubs to boost protection for children and families on the move across Europe - 26 February 2016

With growing numbers of child deaths at sea, UN agencies call for enhancing safety for refugees and migrants - 19 February 2016

More children and women seek safety in Europe: UNICEF - 2 February 2016

UNICEF’s Deputy Executive Director visits Serbia - 20 January 2016

Slovenia and UNICEF in new partnership for refugee and migrant children on the move - 19 January 2016

Conference underlines need for greater cooperation in refugee and migrant crisis - 19 January 2016

Winter: UNICEF expresses concern over the health of children on the move - 18 January 2016

Child-friendly space in the Serbian town of Adasevci opens for children and mothers with babies - 22 December 20

On the Day of International Migration, UNICEF says children need urgent solutions, solidarity - 18 December 2015

Government of Germany and UNICEF join forces for refugee and migrant children in Germany - 14 December 2015

Helping refugees and migrants weather the Balkan winter - 2 December 2015

Harsh weather, border restrictions – New blow to children on the move - 1 December 2015

Joint UNHCR, IOM, and UNICEF statement on new border restrictions in the Balkans - 20 November 2015

Universal Children's Day: Give children on the move a fair chance - 20 November 2015

UNICEF: Major spike in number of refugee and migrant children on the move in Europe - 13 November 2015

EU grants €2 million to UNICEF to meet urgent needs of child refugees and migrants on the move in the Western Balkans - 11 November 2015

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom meets refugee and migrant children on the move in Serbia - 26-30 October 2015

MTV helps raise vital funds and awareness for UNICEF refugee appeal - 25 October 2016

Conflicts, instability uproot over 4.5 million children in 5 countries: UNICEF - 30 September 2016

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom calls for greater protection for refugee and migrant children on the move in Europe - 29 September 2015

UNICEF launches new appeal to support refugee and migrant children in Europe - 25 September 2015

UNICEF response to EU summit on refugee and migrant crisis - 23 September 2015

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Novak Djokovic visits refugee and migrant children in Serbia - 23 September 2015

Child-Friendly Space and Breastfeeding Room for Children and Mothers on the Move Opened in Belgrade - 22 September 2015

UNICEF ramps up mobile response for child refugees and migrants in Croatia, as numbers climb - 22 September 2015

UNICEF: Refugee and migrant children in Hungary “need to be treated with dignity” - 18 September 2015

UNICEF and WFP to reach thousands of Syrians in Turkey with new support from the European Union Trust Fund for the Syria Crisis - 14 September 2015

UNICEF urges European leaders to quickly turn new commitments for refugees and migrants into action for children - 11 September 2015

Child refugee crisis in Europe will only grow if humanitarian needs in Syria and the region are not met - 10 September 2015

Rising numbers of women and children pass through the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia to seek refuge in Europe - UNICEF - 8 September 2015

United action needed now for child refugees: UNICEF - 5 September 2015

Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake on the child migrant and refugee crisis in Europe - 3 September 2016

Number of women and children passing through the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to seek refuge in Europe triples in three months - 1 September 2015

UNICEF supports children fleeing violence and on the move in Europe - 25 July 2015

UNICEF statement on plight of child migrants in the Mediterranean - 26 February 2015

Photo stories

Seeking asylum in Europe - 5 September 2016

The fairytale family - 31 August 2016

Danger every step of the way - 13 June 2016

Fostering hope in a children’s crisis - 27 April 2016

An act of humanity - 29 March 2016

Sajad, 15- safe in Austria - 29 March 2016

Lost identities - 29 March 2016

Finding hope - 27 February 2016

Education in emergencies - 26 January 2016

Childhood Lost - 6 January 2016

Refugees in Europe: Then and Now - 24 December 2015

A future worth any risk - 19 November 2015

Children on the move - 19 November 2015

Facing an uncertain future - 14 November 2015

In Greece, a sea of arrivals - 29 October 2015

In search of hope: Risking it all to flee conflict and hardship - 29 September 2015


Refugee and migrant crisis playlist on YouTube

13-year-old Refugee Dreams of Returning to Syria

Blog posts  

Drama of new life and death for children on the move to Italy - 18 October 2016

Why research should be a priority in the global response to the child migration crisis - 5 October 2016

My wish for refugee and migrant children - 22 September 2016

In Greece, a family split apart by border closures in desperate bid to reunite - 6 September 2016

Zahra in the mirror - 25 July 2016

Helping an Afghan girl hold onto childhood - 27 June 2016

Starting over for everything - 20 May 2016

A seven-year-old writes to the UN - 13 April 2016

45 days in a Greek refugee camp - 8 April 2016

Stranded in Serbia, children find creative joy - 5 April 2016

Syrian children sleep in the mud at a Balkan border - 15 March 2016

Bitsaiah’s journey of despair and hope - 17 February 2016

Long journey to Europe: a father’s perspective - 15 February 2016

A moment for children to be children - 28 January 2016

What would you do to escape ISIS and the Taliban? - 11 January 2016

A bear hug from Aysha - 6 January 2016

Reuniting separated families - 1 December 2015

Going to school in a dinghy - 1 December 2015

On World Children’s Day: #fightunfair - 20 November 2015

What you need to know about children on the move in Europe - 19 November 2015

Caught in Europe’s refugee crisis, children caring for themselves and each other - 13 November 2016

Refugee children on the shores of Europe - 6 November 2016

In Greece, a sea of arrivals - 29 October 2015

A humane thing: A mother helps mothers fleeing for their lives - 21 October 2015

Child refugees and migrants are children first - 6 October 2015

Youssef's story - Twitter Takeover - 30 September 2015

Omaymah's story - Twitter Takeover - 30 September 2015

Anhal's story - Twitter Takeover - 30 September 2015

The Syrian conflict and Europe’s refugee crisis in numbers - 30 September 2015

“We had to leave Syria so that my children could have a life” - 15 September 2015

The brave Syrian woman who smuggled her grandkids into Europe - 6 September 2015

Young Syrians fleeing violence take advantage of mobile apps - 4 September 2015

Children on the move through Europe dream of a ‘normal’ life - 31 August 2015





Data Products


REACH: Children on the move in Italy and Greece  - Jun 2017
Full report | Key findings

Interagency factsheet on refugee and migrant children
Oct 2017Q1 2017

Child Asylum Seekers in Europe by Country of Destination [infographic] 
Jan-Jun 2017 | Jan-Dec 2016

Factsheet on the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe - Apr 2017       

Child asylum seekers in Europe, situation in figures - 1 Nov 2016


EKKA/UNICEF dashboard on UASC in Greece
15 Nov 2017 | 31 Oct 2017 | 15 Oct 2017 | 30 Sep 2017 | 15 Sep 2017 | 31 Aug 2017 | 15 Aug 2017 | 3 Aug 2017 | 19 Jul 2017 | 5 Jul 2017 | 20 Jun 2017 | 2 Jun 2017 | 4 May 2017 | 19 Apr 2017 | 3 Apr 2017 | 17 Mar 2017 | 15 Feb 2017 | 27 Jan 2017 | 13 Jan 2017 | 28 Dec 2016 | 7 Dec 2016

Refugee and migrant children in Greece Data Analysis - August 2017

Refugee and migrant children in Greece overview
31 Oct 2017 | 30 Sep 2017 | 31 Aug 2017 | 31 Jul 201730 Jun 201731 May 2017 | 30 Apr 2017 | 31 Mar 2017 | 31 Jan 2017 | Dec 2016 | Nov 2016

MAP: Refugee and Migrant Children in Greece - by region
25 Mar 2017 | 31 Jul 2017

Access to formal education for unaccompanied children in shelters - May 2017

Children’s perceptions of access to services in accommodation sites in Greece - Apr 2017

Children’s perceptions of access to services outside accommodation sites in Greece - Mar 2017

Access to education for off-site refugee & migrant children in Greece - Mar 2017

Access to basic services for off-site refugee & migrant children in Greece - Mar 2017

Refugee and migrant children in urban sites - Greece, Thessaloniki Region - 16 Mar 2017

Refugee and Migrant Child Population outside Accommodation sites in Thessaloniki - Feb 2017

Monitoring mechanism on the rights of children on the move in Greece - Jul-Dec 2016 


Review of monitoring practices implemented in UASC reception facilities in Sicily - May 2017

Situation overview: Unaccompanied and separated Eritrean children outside of the reception system in Rome - May 2017

Unaccompanied and separated children in Italy - May 2017
From EgyptFrom GambiaFrom Guinea Conakry | From Nigeria

Unaccompanied and separated children dropping out of the primary reception system, Italy - Feb 2017

Unaccompanied and separated children in transit in Ventimiglia, Italy - Feb 2017

Technical guidance

WHO-UNHCR-UNICEF Joint Technical Guidance on General principles of vaccination of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants in the WHO European Region
(PDF documents require Acrobat Reader to view.)

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