Damning reports leading up to World Refugee Day
World Refugee Day was held on June 20th - damning reports and statements highlighted the dire situation facing children trying to find safety across Europe.
The offices of UNICEF in France and the United Kingdom published a joint report on the conditions endured by migrant children in refugee camps near Dunkirk and Calais, including slavery, sexual abuse and forced criminal activity.
Meanwhile, throughout Europe, children are still frequently being detained for moving across borders and are often held in the same cells as adults. The UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights reiterated that "Detention is never in the best interests of the child," at the latest session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, referencing the treatment of unaccompanied children in the current crisis.
However, not all children make it to Europe safely. Between 1 January and 5 June this year, more than 2,800 deaths were recorded in the Mediterranean as migrants and refugees, many of them unaccompanied children, made the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean.
The Council of Europe has also drawn attention to the need to protect refugee children from sexual exploitation and abuse as they move across Europe. The council has called for governments and NGOs involved with refugee children to share data and best practices on protecting refugee children via a focused questionnaire.
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