SOS Children’s Villages CEO calls on authorities worldwide to respect the basic rights of displaced children
Drawing on its nearly 70 years of experience supporting at-risk children and families, SOS Children’s Villages is working to address the immediate and long-term needs of children in some of the world’s most pressing refugee emergencies.
The organisation’s refugee-related programmes focus on providing care for children, protecting their rights, and keeping families together in more than 20 countries and territories that host refugees or where instability and conflict cause mass displacement.
“Millions of people around the world have been forced to leave their homes to find shelter from war and political unrest,” says Norbert Meder, Chief Executive Officer of SOS Children’s Villages International. “Children account for at least half of refugees, and they are especially at risk of separation from their family and loved ones.
“Too often today, the political rhetoric about refugees is toxic and children are caught in the fray. But we cannot look the other way for the sake of short-term political expediency,” Mr Meder says. “Caring for children in need is an obligation even under international law that must never be open to negotiation.”
Keeping families together
SOS Children’s Villages provides quality alternative care for unaccompanied children, including supporting them in their transition to adulthood and helps families to stay together or reunite when this is in the best interest of the child. It also advocates for their rights under international law.
“As we mark World Refugee Day, SOS Children’s Villages calls on all governments to respect the fundamental rights of displaced children,” Mr Meder says. “Children are innocent and deserve protection from harm; they have a right to care, shelter, and education; and they should have the opportunity to grow up with their loved ones whenever possible. We must never forget that compassion, love and respect are essential to ensuring that these children have a better future.”
These photos illustrate just some of the work we do around the world to help children and families on the move.