Destination Unknown

Promoting the rights of young migrants

Worldwide there are millions of children and youth who have fled their homes as refugees or who are living as migrants in other countries. terre des hommes schweiz supports the international campaign Destination Unknown (DU), which advocates for the rights and protection of young migrants.
A woman sitting with two black boys on the pavement in front of a stonewall.
Children and young people make up more than half of all people who are fleeing. Their special needs must be taken into account.

According to information from the United Nations, there are over 65.6 million refugees worldwide. More than half of all refugees are children and youth under the age of 18. Around 245 million people do not live in the countries where they were born. Migration in the southern hemisphere makes up around 37 percent of this figure. Children and young migrants are a particularly vulnerable group and face discrimination in many areas of their lives. It is often difficult for them to gain access to healthcare and education, and they are frequently discriminated against because of where they are from.

terre des hommes schweiz is involved in Destination Unknown – Protect Children on the Move, an international campaign advocating for the protection of migrant children and youth. One of the campaign’s demands is that underage migrants be treated as children first and foremost, who are protected by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The main goal is to find a long-term solution that benefits the interests of young migrants.
The campaign involves around 40 organisations that are active in 65 countries worldwide. The work is divided into three areas:

terre des hommes schweiz beteiligt sich an der Kampagne “Destination Unknown – Protect Children on the Move“, eine internationale Kampagne, die sich für den Schutz von migrierenden Kindern und Jugendlichen einsetzt. Minderjährige Migranten und Migrantinnen, so eine Forderung in der Kampagne, sind in erster Linie als Kinder zu behandeln, die im Rahmen der Kinderrechtskonvention geschützt sind. Oberstes Ziel ist es, eine dauerhafte Lösung im Interesse der jungen Migranten zu finden.
An der Kampagne sind rund 40 Organisationen in 65 Ländern beteiligt. Die Arbeit findet auf drei Ebenen statt:

Child migrants are protected by working directly with children and youth, as well as their families and the relevant authorities. Among other things, they receive essential support in the form of food and accommodation, as well as counselling. The multifaceted project work is carried out by numerous partners and adapted to suit the specific needs and situations on the ground. For instance in Italy, our Terre des hommes sister organisation looks after severely traumatised refugees who have reached the coast or are stranded at northern Italian train stations.
The campaign and its member organisations work to influence the legal framework and practices related to how migrant children and youth are treated. This work is being undertaken at the global, regional and national levels. The aim is always to find the best outcome for children and young people.
The campaign reveals the reality facing migrant children and youth, as well as the human rights and child rights violations they are exposed to due to a lack of adequate protection. Whenever possible, young migrants are given the opportunity to recount their own stories. Children, youth and their families are informed about the risks of migration and about ways they can protect themselves while travelling to other countries.

The ten demands

Das Logo der Kampagne Destination Unknwon

The basis of Destination Unknown’s campaign work is its ten demands.

Destination Unknown in Central America

Young latin american men in front of a plane. They walk in a row.

The number of young people from Central America migrating to the USA has increased dramatically over the last few years. At the same time more and more young refugees are being deported. Our partnerorganisation ACISAM helps young deportees to re-establish themselves in El Salvador after their traumatic experience.