In a new report, UNICEF outlines the dramatic situation in which millions of children currently find themselves. Worldwide, one in nine children is a victim of violence or armed conflict. The report spoke of a “new era of humanitarian crises”. EurActiv Germany reports.
Last year, 16 million children were born in conflict zones and around 75 million children aged between three and 18 cannot attend or only have irregular access to nursery or school because of ongoing crises or recurring disasters. Four schools or hospitals are targeted every day by armed attacks.
Unaccompanied minors and the difficulties they face were also highlighted by the report. It also reported that one in five children in the Middle East are at risk of developing pyschological problems. About 4% of children struggle to get the help the need to deal with these afflictions.
Slovakia, which holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, has showcased the Gabčíkovo camp near Bratislava as an example that intergovernmental solutions can work better than the Commission’s relocation system based on mandatory quotas.
Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, more and more refugee children find themselves doing hard manual labour in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.
UNICEF also criticised the EU’s response to the refugee crisis. Up to December 2015, only 600 out of a planned 20,000 refugees have been relocated from outside of the EU; only 212 out of 160,000 from within the bloc have been distributed. Moreover, only two out of 11 planned hotspots have been set up. The report warned that if the right to asylum is gradually eroded, then the EU will have “a credibility problem”.
One of the world’s leading economists, Jeffrey Sachs, has told EurActiv’s partner WirtschaftsWoche why Africa needs more development aid. He also urged Europe to be more like China.
By the end of November, a reported 240,000 children, both accompanied and unaccompanied, were seeking asylum in the EU. Among the approximately 1 million people to have arrived in Germany in 2015, roughly 300,000 are children.
Although the link between emergency aid and the reasons that cause people to flee their homelands are known, Germany has maintained its development cooperation aid at 0.4% of GDP. The report concluded that the lack of will on the part of economically developed countries to provide satisfactory living conditions in the neediest parts of the world would lead to millions more refugees seeking help from them.