Children’s rights symposium puts focus on child refugees

Tanya Ward
Tanya Ward

The Children’s Rights Alliance (CRA) has called on the Government to continue to prioritise children in its approach to accepting refugees.

The CRA today hosted a joint symposium in Dublin with the support of UNICEF Ireland to examine the situation of child refugees throughout Europe.

Speakers included junior justice minister David Stanton and Catherine Cosgrave, senior solicitor and legal services manager at the Immigrant Council of Ireland.

Tanya Ward, chief executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said: “We are deeply concerned at the conditions faced by child refugees making the perilous journey to Europe.

“These young children are often hungry, may never have attended school and have been exposed to serious abuse and trauma both in their country of origin as well as in transit.

“We need to ensure we are prioritising children in our approach to accepting refugees. We’re calling on the Government to continue to prioritise unaccompanied children in particular and to renew efforts to relocate people from the European hotspots.”

Mr Stanton said: “While all refugees and persons seeking international protection can be seen as being in a vulnerable situation, child refugees and asylum seekers, whether they are accompanied or unaccompanied, should be seen as an especially vulnerable group.

“The promotion and protection of the rights of child refugees and asylum seekers should therefore be central to our responses to refugee and crisis situations.

“This is why we are committed to prioritising families and children in the ongoing delivery of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme and for our future plans for resettlement and other forms of humanitarian admission for those most in need of our protection.”

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