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General Rapporteur calls for ‘a helping hand for children’ in current refugee crisis

Sevinj Fataliyeva (Azerbaijan, EC), General Rapporteur on Children of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has called on European governments to offer “a helping hand to children” in the current refugee crisis.

Speaking as PACE debates the migrant and refugee situation, she said: “In the current refugee crisis, many families are being forced to flee from their homes due to violence and destruction. Over 1.1 million Syrian children alone are refugees. According to UNICEF estimates, more than 320,000 migrant women and children could need our help and protection over the next six months. We should remember that children are often deeply traumatised by losing their familiar environment, friends and schools. Moreover, every day, children are being born in exile and may not receive birth certificates.”

“Europe, as the main destination for many refugees, should provide support in the face of this disaster. We should not forget that children need our special attention and protection, whatever the reason for fleeing their home countries may be.”

“As General Rapporteur on Children of the Parliamentary Assembly, I call on European States to protect the human rights of refugee children. Children need guaranteed access to asylum procedures and protected entry mechanisms, and should not be separated from their families if possible.”

“Our main interest in the current crisis should be to reach out a helping hand to children and, for as long as a safe return to their home countries is not possible, to offer them a child-friendly environment where their safety and happiness can be secured.”