In Australia, Europe and wherever they go in search of safety, refugees face the same question: why don’t you go back home? Here’s why that’s not always possible.
The number of people affected by conflict, disaster and humanitarian crisis has doubled in the past decade and there are now more refugees than at any other time since World War II.
Wherever they go, these refugees are often asked to return.
But when war throws your life into chaos, it’s rarely as simple as just going home.
Here are just a few of the worst conflicts children and their families are fleeing from today.
Syria is one of the most dangerous places to be a child
Children have lost lives and limbs in more than six years of conflict. They have lost classrooms and teachers, brothers and sisters, playgrounds and homes. An estimated 6 million children are in need of humanitarian support. Those in beseiged areas remain at high risk of malnutrition and others lack access to clean water, eduation and childhood vaccinations.
Many of these children were born since the conflict started in 2011, their whole lives shaped by violence, fear and displacement.
Those who stay in Syria risk starvation and disease
and children as young as seven are being recruited by armed forces and groups
. Children have tried to escape from starvation in besieged towns, only to be shot by snipers or killed in minefields. Sexual violence has been used as a weapon of war, and children have been abducted, arrested at their schools, detained in ‘security centres’ and tortured into confessions.
These are not the atrocities of long-past wars, of history books or period films.
These things are happening to children right now, and our response will be judged in the history books of the next generation.