Protecting Urban Refugee Children

Do you live or work in a city? Are you frustrated by services and programmes that don’t reflect urban refugee children’s needs and realities? Do you have ideas for how to better engage urban refugee children, young people and their families? Do you have suggestions for how to link refugee children and families with existing local services? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, now is your chance to share your ideas as part of the “Protect Urban Refugee Children Innovation Challenge”. We want to hear ideas from UNHCR staff, partners and refugees who have urban experience. As of 2017, more than half of the world’s 16.5 million refugees live in urban areas. Many of these urban refugees are children who will spend their entire childhood in the city.

Living in cities can potentially offer refugee children and their families opportunities and benefits that are unavailable in camps or rural areas, including greater possibilities for income generation or employment, better access to a fuller range of education and health services, and more chances for integration in a diverse urban setting. But, many urban refugee families struggle financially. They share the difficulties of the urban poor and also face an array of difficulties related to their forced displacement and legal status. This makes it especially hard for them to make a living and to access the services and opportunities that cities offer. This combination undermines the protective capacity of families and communities and compounds protection risks for children.

23 April National Sovereignty and Children’s Day in Turkey

This national day, 23 April National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, in Turkey is a unique event. The founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, made a present of April 23 to all the world’s children to emphasize that they are successor of the future.

Every year, the children in Turkey celebrate this “Sovereignty and Children’s Day” as a national holiday. Schools participate in week-long ceremonies marked by performances in all fields in large stadiums watched by the entire nation. Among the activities on this day, the children send their representatives to replace state officials and high ranking civil servants in their offices. The President, the Prime Minister, the cabinet ministers, provincial governors all turn over their positions to children’s representatives. These children, in turn, sign executive orders relating to educational and environmental policies. On this day, the children also replace the parliamentarians in the Grand National Assembly and hold a special session to discuss matters concerning children’s issues

Over the last two decades, the Turkish officials have been working hard to internationalize this important day. Their efforts resulted in large number of world states’ sending groups of children to Turkey to participate in the above stated festivities. During their stay in Turkey, the foreign children are housed in Turkish homes and find an important opportunity to interact with the Turkish children and learn about each other’s countries and cultures. The foreign children groups also participate in the special session of the Grand National Assembly.

This results in a truly international Assembly, where children pledge their commitment to international peace and brotherhood.

The importance of April 23 as a special day of children has been recognized by the international community. UNICEF decided to recognize this important day as the International Children’s Day.