Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have announced that millions of children are missing out on school and are vulnerable to exploitation because of war or natural disasters.
The group made the call at the first ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey.
According to CEO of ‘War Child UK,’ Rob Williams, children make up about half of the rising numbers of people affected by conflict and disasters, and there are many more who are caught up in slavery or suffer sexual abuse.
Children make up half of those people who are fleeing the bombing, fleeing their homes. So of the 60 million refugees and displaced people that is 30 million children.
He noted that conflicts around the world are disastrous for children.
“Children make up half of those people who are fleeing the bombing, fleeing their homes. So of the 60 million refugees and displaced people that is 30 million children. And children are particularly vulnerable in a conflict area, if they are very young they are unable to look after themselves, but children are at risk of sexual abuse, they are at risk of abduction by armed groups and we see that a lot in conflicts,” he said.
Williams reiterated that a whole generation of children had been lost as a result of conflict.
“Lots of people are talking about a lost generations, there are children who are stuck on the borders between Syria and neighbouring countries. There are children moving across Europe now who aren’t properly documented and who will fall between the cracks. I don’t think there is a risk of a lost generation, there is actually a lost generation,” said Williams.
Nearly 75 million children living in areas affected by war or natural disaster had their education disrupted last year, leaving them prey to child labour, trafficking and extremism, according to research published in March.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had said the world is facing its worst humanitarian situation since World War Two.
About 130 million people are affected by war or natural disasters, and some 60 million have been forced to flee their homes.
EU police reports earlier this year revealed that some 10,000 unaccompanied migrant children who had fled to Europe had disappeared, many of them believed to have fallen into the hands of traffickers.
Chief executive of Save the Children International, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, said funding is needed to provide education for children affected by conflict.
“Education actually is not just about learning something from books, it is also something that can enable every girl, or every boy, to not be married too early, to not be prone to child labour, to not be sexually abused, or all the other horrendous things that can happen to children when they are not protected by their parents.”
UN special envoy, Gordon Brown on Monday announced that a crisis fund had been launched to raise $3.8 billion to help the millions of children missing out on school.
The fund aims to help more than 13 million children and young people over the next five years, and 75 million by 2030.
According to a London-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI), On average, only two percent of global humanitarian appeals are dedicated to education.
The U.N. children’s agency (UNICEF) ahead of the meeting said an average of four schools or hospitals are attacked or occupied by armed groups every day.