There are 25.4 million refugees registered with the UNHCR worldwide, 52% of them are children. The vast majority of those children will never be resettled, integrated locally, or allowed to go home. They will live and die warehoused in camps.
I will most likely outlive the teenagers I worked with in those refugee camps. The average life expectancy in my country is 80 years for men and 84 for women, but life expectancies for refugees are on average 49 years for men and 54 years for women.
The most significant section of a refugee camp's graveyard is dedicated to infants and children. Infant mortality in-camp globally averages at 150 deaths per 1000 live births. This is mostly due to lack of nutrition and access to medical care.
Asylum or resettlement isn't a happily ever after. Suicide is the number one cause of death for permanently resettled refugee children between the ages of 10-18. Lack of access to mental health is a huge problem that is killing kids.
If the current trends persist, 1 in every 118 children born today will become displaced before the age of 18. Their likelihood of rape, torture, and premature death quadruples as soon as they are forced to flee their homes. I believe that our generation will be measured by our response to the Global Refugee Crisis and unless we make a concretive effort to protect the most vulnerable amongst us, we will be found wanting.
About Nuri McBride
Nuri McBride worked in international humanitarian aid for fifteen years specialising in survivors of torture, refugee children, and the resettlement of unaccompanied minors. She has worked in-country in Kenya, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and Thailand, as well as in resettlement in the United States. While retired from field work, Nuri still advocates for asylum-seekers in Israel. As an academic, she has also published several articles on climate change and migration, as well as on mass-death events and the rule of law. Nuri is a 5th generation Metaharet (ritual preparer of the dead in Judaism) and is active in natural death and death positivity education. As a journeyman perfumer, she examines the use of olfaction in death rituals in her blog deathscent.com and has written for the Order of the Good Death, Death and the Maiden, Offbeat Home and other publications.