Universal Children’s Day: One in four asylum applicants in Europe is a child
Friday, 18 November 2016
Photo credit: European Commission
The European Commission has issued a joint statement by a number of commissioners on the occasion of Universal Children Day on 20 November. The date marks the day on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, in 1959, and Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1989.
The General Assembly recommended in 1954 that all countries institute a Universal Children’s Day, to be observed as a day of worldwide fraternity and understanding between children. It recommended that the Day was to be observed also as a day of activity devoted to promoting the ideals and objectives of the Charter and the welfare of the children of the world.
“We usually hear that children and youth are the future of our societies,” the statement says. “The truth is that they are also the present. Our children are agents of change within their families and communities and their right to be heard and to participate in a meaningful way to the development of society must be fully respected.”
But too many children are being left behind, because of poverty and discrimination. “Currently, one in four asylum applicants in Europe is a child. Among the more than one million refugees who arrived in Europe in 2015, 31% were children, including 90.000 unaccompanied children.”
The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants contains an explicit commitment to ensure all children are receiving education within a few months of arrival. “Worldwide, too many children are deprived of their rights to education: 124 million children in the world are out-of-school.” The statement continues that too many children are forced to work.
The 10th European Forum on the rights of the child to be held on 29-30 November 2016 in Brussels will focus on the protection of migrant and refugee children. The forum will focus on the exchange of good practice in specific areas and contribute to work on supporting integrated protection systems, taking into account the protection needs of all children in migration.