World Vision urges international community to step up to support refugee children and their families
MISSISSAUGA, ON, June 19, 2014 /CNW/ - As World Refugee Day approaches on June 20, it's critical the world realizes that children often make up the majority of those who've fled their homes because of conflicts or other humanitarian emergencies, says international aid organization World Vision.
Almost seven million children have fled violence in Syria, South Sudan, Somalia and Central African Republic.
Children comprise more than half of all refugees from the conflict in Syria and about 60 per cent of those who have fled Somalia. They also make up more than half of those living in squalid displaced camps in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic. In these situations, parents are often denied access to employment, while children are unable to go to school and remain vulnerable to sexual violence and recruitment by armed groups.
World Vision urges Canada and the rest of the international community to respond generously to efforts to help refugees around the world and to support efforts for a peaceful resolution to these conflicts. The organization notes that international joint appeals for funds to support relief efforts in areas such as Syria, Somalia and South Sudan are all well below the targets established by the United Nations.
"The cramped conditions within the camps for displaced people within South Sudan and growing threats of insecurity make it difficult for children to get the psychological support they need for their growth and development," says Perry Mansfield, World Vision's program director for South Sudan.
"The international community must expend more political and financial capital to broker a negotiated peace inside Syria," says Jeffrey Wright, World Vision's response director for Syria. "It needs to stem the tide of Syrians fleeing to nearby countries, and support the 2.8 million refugees until they can return home."
"Globally, the number of refugees that have fled war or natural disasters is approaching levels not seen since the end of the Second World War," says Dave Toycen, president and CEO of World Vision Canada. "It's the children that we're most concerned about. Now, more than ever, Canada and its international partners need to ensure children and their families have hope for the future."
- Almost 370 thousand people have fled South Sudan to neighbouring countries, and worsening conditions in Somalia will add to almost 1 million refugees already living outside the country.
- The total number of Syrian refugees is expected to reach 3 million within months.
- World Vision runs extensive aid operations in South Sudan, Somalia and among Syrian refugees. Its activities include supplying food, clean water, shelter and essential supplies to struggling populations. Canadians can support these efforts through the agency's Raw Hope program.
World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Visit our News Centre at worldvision.ca
SOURCE: World Vision Canada
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