Social and Economic Policy


© UNICEF/ HQ07-1138/Shehzad Noorani

UNICEF and migration

UNICEF, guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, takes the position that the impact of migration on children, adolescents and women must be seen in the broader context of poverty, regional conflict, gender issues and children’s rights.

UNICEF is committed to protecting children the world over, including the millions of children who are affected by migration.  With interagency cooperation between the United Nations, government and civil society partners, UNICEF provides leadership at the country and global levels in developing evidence-based, action oriented policy to secure the basic rights of children, adolescents and women affected by migration.

UNICEF is particularly concerned with reducing the often severe social costs of migration and remittances for children in developing countries, and engages in local capacity-building efforts and policy dialogues aimed at generating social protection measures and legislative reforms that in UNICEF’s view are fundamental to the realisation of the rights of affected children and women as well as to effective development.

Migration in context: a multidimensional perspective is crucial to securing the well-being of children and women affected by migration processes

International migration has grown exponentially in recent decades. Globalization and economic development have benefited from migration trends while at the same time fuelling them. Today, over 192 million migrants live outside their country of birth, and women make up nearly half of all migrants around the world.

Migration’s progressive effects, resulting largely from remittances (funds sent home to the country of origin), can be significantly undercut, however, by the challenging conditions facing children and women who are either left behind or who, in the process of migration, can fall victim to social and economic disruption – or even human rights abuses and trafficking.

Children are affected by migration on multiple levels: when they are left behind by one or both migrating parents, in migrating with parents (or born abroad), or when they migrate alone.  Read more.