Improving by sharing: Protection measures for unaccompanied refugee and migrant children arriving and living in Europe
International conference „On the move and alone”
UNICEF and partners facilitate sharing challenges and solutions to improved protection of unaccompanied children at the International Conference „On the Move and Alone“
ZAGREB, 13 October 2016
More than 70 experts and professionals from nine European countries gathered at the international conference „On the move and alone: How to respond effectively to the needs of unaccompanied and separated children in Southeast Europe?“ that was launched today.
More than 88,300 unaccompanied children applied for asylum in the EU member states in 2015, and a large part of them have passed through or stayed in Southeast Europe (Eurostat).
Taking stock of the variety of lessons learned during one year of response to the refugee and migrant crisis in several countries of Southeast Europe, this conference aims to promote dialogue, experience sharing and cooperation among child protection professionals from governments and other national and international child protection and social welfare bodies dealing with unaccompanied and separated children (UASC).
Discussion on good practices and challenges will focus on solutions to reduce language and cultural barriers, to respect the opinions of separated and unaccompanied children, to ensure all services and support during the process of reunification as well as providing the guardianship and education that will support the future of refugee and migrant children.
„It has been very challenging to find solutions in the best interest of each unaccompanied or separated child. Each country managed to find different solutions on the way and this conference is about learning from each other’s good practices and lessons learned. Our aim is to enhance interdisciplinary and cross border cooperation in protecting the most vulnerable among the migrant and refugee children and create sustainable platform for enhanced protection of unaccompanied and separated children“, says Head of UNICEF Office for Croatia, Valentina Otmacic.
Civil servants, experts, representatives of civil society and international organisations will share and discuss different challenges and experiences in protection of unaccompanied and separated children in transit countries (Croatia, Greece, and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) and destination countries (Netherlands). Representatives from UNICEF and UNHCR regional offices will present international standards and guidelines for protection of unaccompanied children.
Conference is hosted by Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Ministry of Social Policy and Youth, Ministry of the Interior and UNICEF Office for Croatia within the framework of #EU4HumanRights initiative.
The refugee and migrant crisis that has shaken Europe has affected a large number of children. Many of them have witnessed the horrors of war, which will leave an indelible mark on them as they grow up. UNICEF, together with its partners, has been active since the first day of the crisis in providing support to mothers and children.