On Tuesday 28 May, the international partnership of humanitarian and children's rights organisations behind a new training resource to equip people to respond to the needs of unaccompanied and separated refugee and migrant children met with the UN's OHCHR Committee on the Rights of the Child at their latest session in Geneva.
UNICEF estimates that almost 50 million children worldwide are on the move. There is evidence that many children and young people are being denied their rights when they are on the move, with unaccompanied and separated children facing abuse, violence and exploitation; hostility, stigma and discrimination; inappropriate treatment and; fear and isolation. The OHCHR Committee has previously called on all governments to safeguard the rights of children on the move.
Launching the start of the new course this week, the partners came together with the Committee to highlight the needs and experiences of some of the world's most vulnerable citizens and encourage all those who could help to equip themselves with the skills and knowledge required.
The event was opened by CRC Vice Chairperson Renate Winter and moderated by Committee Member Professor Ann Skelton. The Committee heard why the resource has been launched now, and young people made a plea for countries to do better so that children do not experience the kind of difficult journeys and risks they and many others have faced.
Endorsing the opportunity the course provides professionals and volunteers across the world, UNICEF's Senior Migration Advisor Laurent Chapuis explained, "This course is a way people can acquire the knowledge they need now, immediately."
Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), addressing the members of the Committee and the course partners, said: "This is an extremely important initiative. For us, there are 14 million volunteers working on the ground; they should do this course. Each of our volunteers needs to be equipped with this knowledge."
Representatives of CELCIS, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH/GIZ, IFRC, Save the Children, the Swiss Government's Ministry for Foreign Affairs, UNICEF and UNHCR joined the Committee for the event.
Caring for Children Moving Alone: Protecting Unaccompanied and Separated Children is available to learn in English, French, Spanish or Arabic. It is free, online, and set out over six weeks. Resources include original content filmed in Italy, Ethiopia and Mexico; practical examples of promising practice; and a dramatization to consider the issues being explored. Through online discussions, every participant can also share their experiences across different disciplines, professions, and interests in supporting young people. Learners can access the course when best suits them and learn at their own pace. Every learner will receive a free certificate on their completion of the course.