Statement from UNICEF Director of Data, Research and Policy Laurence Chandy
"Today’s adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is a historic achievement for migrant children and States alike.
“For the very first time, children are being recognized as central to migration management. Without creating new obligations, the Compact provides States with a critical tool to better meet their existing legal obligations to protect, integrate and empower all children. It also helps provide millions of children and young people affected by migration with the chance to fulfil their potential.
“By putting in practice the measures proposed in the Compact, States can better address the causes that uproot children from their homes, provide migrant children with better access to education and health services, and offer them stronger protection from exploitation and violence. Through the Compact, States can achieve stronger results in keeping families together and tackling xenophobia and discrimination.
“Today, more than 100 countries still have policies of migration detention for children. Imagine if alternatives to migration detention for children were adopted globally, and the number of detained children fell from a million today to zero. Imagine if we could close the gap in access to education and health for migrant children so that such inequities did not exist.
“Our challenge now is to take the next step. We must move beyond acknowledging the vulnerabilities of migrant children to maximizing their roles in spurring development and broader prosperity. We need to do a better job of engaging them and listening to their voices, needs, concerns and aspirations for the future.
“Children and young people can – and must be – part of the solution to make migration safe for everyone.
“UNICEF remains ready to work with Member States, UN agencies, local authorities and civil society, and to help engage children and youth in the implementation of the Global Compact’s measures at local, national and global levels.
“Because - to quote the words of Yasmin, one of UNICEF youth delegates at the Marrakesh Summit - migration policies that work for youth, and children, work for all.”