23 August 2013

One million Syrian children have now been forced to flee their homes as refugees.  

Half of all refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict are children – and 740,000 refugees are under the age of 11. Most have arrived in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.  

"This one millionth child refugee is not just another number," said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director. "This is a real child ripped from home, maybe even from a family, facing horrors we can only begin to comprehend."

"We must all share the shame," said Lake, "Because while we work to alleviate the suffering of those affected by this crisis, the global community has failed in its responsibility to this child. We should stop and ask ourselves how, in all conscience, we can continue to fail the children of Syria."

"What is at stake is nothing less than the survival and wellbeing of a generation of innocents," said António Guterres, UNHCR High Commissioner. 

"The youth of Syria are losing their homes, their family members and their futures. Even after they have crossed a border to safety, they are traumatised, depressed and in need of a reason for hope." 


Inside Syria, some 7,000 children have been killed during the conflict, according to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. 

UNHCR and UNICEF estimate that more than 2 million children have been internally displaced within Syria. Both agencies also highlight the threats to refugee children from child labour, early marriage and the potential for sexual exploitation and trafficking. 

The largest humanitarian operation in history has seen UNHCR and UNICEF bringing support to millions of affected families and children. 

More than than 1.3 million refugee children have been vaccinated against measles this year with the support of UNICEF and its partners.

Nearly 167,000 refugee children have received specialist counselling to help them cope with their experiences, and more than 118,000 children have been able to stay in education.

However, we have less than 40% of the funding needed to continue to bring help to the children of Syria.

One of a million child refugees of the Syria crisis.  © UNICEF/2013/Schernbrucker
One of a million child refugees of the Syria crisis. © UNICEF/2013/Schernbrucker