Migrant children continue to suffer a year after EU-Turkey deal

TMP – 11/04/2017

A year after the EU-Turkey deal aimed at stopping mass migration flows, refugee and migrant children are facing greater risks of deportation, detention, exploitation and deprivation, according to UNICEF

“While there has been a major decrease in the overall numbers of children on the move into Europe since last March, there has been an increase in the threats and distress refugee and migrant children endure,” said UNICEF Regional Director Afshan Khan.

Despite significant efforts from the Greek government and humanitarian partners, about half of the 2,100 unaccompanied children stranded in Greece are still living in substandard conditions or being held in detention centres for indefinite periods of time.

“We observe a very concerning increase of the number of children kept under detention because of their migration status.

“So, we see in many countries a number of children that are simply detained for long periods and they are finally kept under what we define as unacceptable situations,” said Lucio Melandri, UNICEF senior emergency manager.

UNICEF staff in Greece also report deep levels of distress and high levels of anxiety, aggression and violence among children living in camps and detention centres.

Many of the migrant children stranded have been out of education for a number of years. To help address this, UNICEF is supporting the Greek Ministry of Education’s strategy to integrate stranded migrant children into Greek schools.