Yangon, 24 December 2018 – The European Union has contributed €1.5 million to support UNICEF’s work to protect the rights of children affected by migration in Myanmar, as part of a new cross-regional programme covering seven countries in Southeast, South and Central Asia.
In 2014, more than 9 million people were internal migrants in Myanmar – almost one fifth of the country's population, and an estimated 4.25 million Myanmar nationals had migrated abroad. Migration affects children and young people considerably as the majority of international migrants leave Myanmar before the age of 30. Most migrants to Thailand and China move between the ages of 15 and 24. Being a young migrant is both challenging and dangerous: year after year one third of human trafficking victims of Myanmar origin are children.
With the new programme, Protecting children affected by migration in Southeast, South, and Central Asia, UNICEF will work with the Government of Myanmar and civil society organizations over the course of the next three years to ensure that child protection systems are inclusive of children affected by migration. The programme will focus on the protection of victims of trafficking, separated and unaccompanied children and other particularly vulnerable children on the move within Myanmar and in cross-border contexts. UNICEF Myanmar will support the provision of legal aid and other required services for children who are subject to detention or exploitation as a result of their migration.
"Migrant children are children above all. They are vulnerable, and they need protection, love, compassion and care, as well as legal protection and support to uphold the Rights of the Child. In tune with Myanmar's commitment to uphold those rights within a democratic society, the European Union is proud to help strengthen Myanmar's child protection systems." – said H.E. Kristian Schmidt, Ambassador of the European Union to Myanmar.
Various push factors may influence migration of children and families in Myanmar. Some children move independently, others – with their families. “Regardless of the reasons of migration, children should be treated first and foremost as children, with the same rights as all other children under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. They should be included in national systems that are responsive to migrant children’s needs and vulnerabilities,” said Ms June Kunugi, UNICEF Representative to Myanmar. “With the contribution from the European Union, UNICEF in Myanmar will work with the Government and civil society partners to ensure trafficked and vulnerable migrant children are reached by national child protection systems and are protected by national laws and policies.”
UNICEF thanks the European Union for this generous contribution, which will better protect children in Myanmar who are on the move.
Protecting children affected by migration in Southeast, South, and Central Asia is a project implemented by UNICEF, and co-funded by the European Union and UNICEF. The project has a total budget of €12 million, of which €10.5 million is the contribution of the European Union. Myanmar is one of the seven countries included in the programme along with Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Thailand and Uzbekistan. In Myanmar, the project will work with a budget of €1.5 million to protect the rights of children affected by migration.
UNICEF in Myanmar
UNICEF has been working with the Government and the people of Myanmar since 1950. In partnership with the Government and the civil society, UNICEF’s current focus of work aims at reducing child mortality, improving access and quality of education and protecting children from violence, abuse and exploitation.
For more information about UNICEF and its work in Myanmar: