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By Jacob Hunt
23 June 2018

International treatment of refugee and migrant children right now should shake the world’s conscience.

We’ve seen children seeking safety in the US only to be torn from their parents and locked in detention. Heard their cries for ‘mamá’ and ‘papá’ as they are forced behind wire fences – a sharp reminder of the children who have languished on Nauru.

While the US President has now ordered an end to this shocking practice of family separation, this does not provide a solution for more than 2,000 children who have already been taken from their parents at the border since May. It could also lead to the indefinite detention of entire families. Detaining children like this, even for a short period, can have a devastating impact on their mental health, well-being and development.

Meanwhile, we’ve seen children stranded on the Mediterranean Sea for eight days – scared, dehydrated and utterly exhausted – until Spain finally agreed to let them in. 60 of these girls and boys were alone, without parents to keep them safe.

We’ve seen Rohingya refugee children face the new crisis of monsoonal rains in Bangladesh with not nearly enough of the humanitarian aid they need to survive. Thousands of them are struggling without parents who got separated or killed while fleeing from violence in Myanmar. Each day, 60 more babies are being born into the camps while intense winds, flooding and landslides wreak havoc on their families’ shelters. And yet the humanitarian community has received just 22% of the funds it needs to respond to this crisis.

All of this happened as the UN declared that more children than ever before have been forced from their homes, in search of safety and a better life.