More child refugees locked up

Num­ber of un­ac­com­pa­nied mi­nors held in cells with un­re­lated adult males rises

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

More un­ac­com­pa­nied young refugees and mi­grants are end­ing up de­tained in un­safe con­di­tions, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Cen­ter for So­cial Sol­i­dar­ity (EKKA), which found 117 de­tained at po­lice cen­ters. EKKA says the num­ber stood at just two in Novem­ber 2016.

“Rather than be­ing pro­tected, dozens of vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren are be­ing locked up in dirty, crowded cells with un­re­lated adult males,” said Eva Cosse, Greece re­searcher at Hu­man Rights Watch. “We urge an im­me­di­ate end to this prac­tice and for these chil­dren to be trans­ferred to open cen­ters with dig­ni­fied liv­ing con­di­tions, where they can be pro­vided pro­tec­tion, coun­sel­ing, le­gal ser­vices and other ba­sic needs,” she added.

Ac­cord­ing to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), 16 per­cent of the chil­dren who ar­rived on the Greek is­lands dur­ing the first three months of 2017 were un­ac­com­pa­nied. Nearly all were from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pak­istan. Dur­ing the same pe­riod, 3,491 un­ac­com­pa­nied mi­nors ar­rived in Italy af­ter mak­ing the dan­ger­ous Mediter­ranean cross- ing from Libya. Al­most all un­ac­com­pa­nied mi­nors that ar­rive in Europe are boys.

An es­ti­mated 20,000 refugee chil­dren are cur­rently in Greece and most are ac­com­pa­nied by at least one fam­ily mem­ber. Nearly a third are un­der the age of 4. Among school-age refugees 36 per­cent are not en­rolled in any kind of school­ing.

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