UNICEF launches new appeal to support refugee and migrant children in Europe

US$14 million needed to care for children on the move

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GENEVA / NEW YORK, Sept. 25, 2015 /CNW/ - UNICEF is appealing for US$14 million to assist refugee and migrant children in Europe, following an 80 per cent increase in the number of children on the move into the continent – many escaping conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

A total of 133,000 children sought asylum in the European Union between January and July 2015 - an average of 19,000 children every month, according to the latest available Eurostat data. One in every four asylum seekers is a child.

"With so many children on the move, and with winter in Europe approaching, our priority has to be caring for these children now," said Ms Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF's Special Co-ordinator for the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe. "Working alongside governments and other partners across Europe, wherever our support is needed, UNICEF will do all it can so that refugee and migrant children are safe, healthy and that their rights and dignity are fully respected."

Amongst the range of assistance covered by the UNICEF appeal for the coming 12 months is:

  • support for services such as child-friendly spaces at reception centres
  • provision of child health and nutrition information to families
  • support to education and learning programs,
  • technical support and guidance to government and other partners, in areas such as child rights and child protection, provision of psychosocial support, prevention and response to violence, and protection against trafficking
  • support and protection to unaccompanied and separated children

UNICEF is also offering assistance to European governments so that their policies and procedures with regard to refugee and migrant children are always implemented in the best interests of children, and in line with internationally accepted standards.

As the numbers of child refugees and migrants arriving in Europe has increased in recent months UNICEF has already ramped up its support in Croatia, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and is offering its support to governments and local partners to identify needs in Greece, Hungary, Slovenia and Austria.

UNICEF also emphasizes that its humanitarian programs in Syria and neighbouring countries, where together some 7.6 million children are in need of assistance, remain seriously unfunded. Of the US$903 million required for 2015, only about half of that amount has been secured so far this year.

About UNICEF
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.

SOURCE UNICEF Canada

For further information: To arrange interviews or for more information please contact: Tiffany Baggetta, UNICEF Canada, 416-482-6552 ext. 8892, 647-308-4806 (mobile), tbaggetta@unicef.ca

RELATED LINKS
http://www.unicef.ca

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