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UN: Refugee children vulnerable to abuse
June 13, 2016, 4:02 pm

In the absence of a comprehensive and unified policy, local authorities from Croatia to Hungary, Denmark and Sweden have adopted their own measures to push back the tide of refugees [Xinhua]

In the absence of a comprehensive and unified policy, local authorities from Croatia to Hungary, Denmark and Sweden have adopted their own measures to push back the tide of refugees [Xinhua]


Head of the UN Human Rights commission Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has condemned Europe’s treatment of migrant refugees particular in regards to detention of children and minors.

“Even unaccompanied children are frequently placed in prison cells or centers ringed with barbed wire,” Hussein told the UN Human Rights Council during its forum in Geneva on Monday.

“Detention is never in the best interests of the child – which must take primacy over immigration objectives,” he added, urging that alternatives must be explored.

He also lambasted the rise in anti-refugee rhetoric which is leading to xenophobia, Islamophobia and even violence targeting those fleeing wars and strife in the Middle East.

The UN, which says that about 1.15 million refugees have come through Greece and Italy since the start of 2015, has warned that children are the most vulnerable to trauma as a result of the perilous voyage across the Mediterranean and subsequent detainment.

It estimates that more than 35 per cent of all refugees are children, with some unaccompanied by parents or guardians.

An upcoming report from the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF says that some children are being exploited and trafficked in refugee camps in France.

The report also paints a dismal picture of children being offered passage to the UK if they commit petty crimes, take on manual labor or engage in sexual exploitation.

Other relief agencies have reported that refugee children are traumatized, confused, depressed and suffering from anxiety.

According to a report published in the Guardian on Monday, a number of relief groups are working with children to help them play, draw, sing, dance and engage together.

They say that many children have witnessed murder, drowning of loved ones, abuse and violence leading them to withdraw from their communities.

These reports come as a small, but growing number of refugees from Iraq and Syria return home from makeshift camps in Europe.

They say they have been mistreated enough and that relief never came.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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