The growing crisis in Afghanistan has seen more than 250,000 people leaving their homes in the last few weeks as families seek safety from the rapidly deteriorating security situation. This brings the total numbers of children and their families uprooted in recent years due to insecurity and violence to over 3.5 million (UNHCR, 2021).

Approximately 80% of those displaced are children and women, many of whom are particularly at risk of human rights abuses at the hands of the Taliban. The crisis is anticipated to lead to more children becoming separated from the care and protection of their families, and is likely to increase the numbers taking dangerous journeys with or without their families to reach safety in other countries.

Not only do these children and their families on the move need urgent protection, governments have a responsibility to present a coherent and effective international strategy that protects the rights of children in Afghanistan, particularly girls in this instance. Further, Family for Every Child’s experience demonstrates the critical need for host countries to provide long term care for those who cannot return, and to ensure that children are able to grow up in safe and caring families in conformity with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

We call upon all countries to commit to a safe passage for evacuation and resettlement of all those leaving Afghanistan. We appeal to host countries to welcome all refugees regardless of the route they have taken, rather than limited to those that are part of a national resettlement plan. We request that all host nations provide a family reunion route so that no family member is left behind and no family is unnecessarily separated.

The crisis in Afghanistan also brings into sharp focus the needs of children and their families who continue to flee war and oppression in a range of other countries where Family for Every Child members are working. For more information about our work with children on the move, see https://familyforeverychild.org/childhoodonthemove and our digital platform, Changemakers for Children.