10 Nov 2016
Children’s Rights Alliance Welcomes Dáil Motion on Child Refugees
The Children’s Rights Alliance has welcomed today’s passing of an all-party Government motion on refugees with a special emphasis on child refugees.
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, commenting today, said that: “We remain deeply concerned at the numbers of displaced and lone children across Europe. These children – some as young as 8 – are often hungry, have no school to attend and have been exposed to serious abuse and trauma. Some have been exploited by ruthless child traffickers and up to 10,000 children have gone missing. Ireland must act.
Today’s all-party motion is a stepping stone towards addressing the rights of these vulnerable children. The proposal for our Government to work with the French authorities to identify children previously living in the unofficial camp in Calais is positive. We must put pressure on France to live up to its obligations to register children, provide them with care, reunite them with their families and provide protection.
While much of the focus in recent weeks has been on France, let’s not forget it is one of the richest countries in Europe. Greece meanwhile is among the poorest yet conditions for children in camps there, as well as in Italy, are absolutely dire as the authorities struggle to cope with the large numbers of refugees coming to their shores. The needs of these children cannot be forgotten so we warmly welcome the continued commitment to focus on other countries specified in the EU Relocation Programme.
Ensuring the safety of these children is paramount so child protection law must underpin all activities in the relocation of any child between countries. Our child protection system can do nothing unless it is adequately resourced to do so. Tusla has considerable experience and expertise in meeting the unique needs of unaccompanied children – they must be given the necessary resources to do their jobs properly and help to re-build these children’s lives.
Today’s commitment to prioritise refugee children in France who have been bereaved and those children who are at risk of trafficking is also positive and pragmatic. Ireland’s geographical location could play a special role by taking those children at risk of trafficking making it difficult for traffickers to target them here. The priority given to children who express a desire to come to Ireland ensures that the child’s view will be heard and considered in this important process.
We commend the Government for passing this important motion, in particular Dr. Katherine Zappone TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, David Stanton TD, Minister of State for Justice with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration as well as all members of the opposition who supported the motion and worked hard to ensure that the key focus was on what was best for the children concerned.”
For further information please contact:
Emma McKinley, Communications and Development Manager
Tel: 01 662 9400 / 087 6559067