Article from DCI – Greece
DCI’s National Section in Greece (DCI-Greece) continues its activities protecting unaccompanied migrant children. The situation has been deteriorating during 2020, while recently Greek authorities have halted the registration of new asylum cases. Indeed, unaccompanied children who arrived after March 1st remain unidentified and live in inappropriate living conditions while there hardly any measure related to the Covid-19 pandemic exposing in heavy risks given the dire sanitary and hygiene conditions. In this context, DCI-Greece continued their Children’s Rights Helpdesk operation services during the quarantine. The Helpdesk worked intensively on all pending family reunification cases (Dublin III) involving unaccompanied children residing inside Moria Camp and outside in the so-called jungle in order to meet the 3-months’ deadline.
In their latest legal mission in March, DCI-Greece dealt with over 40 family reunification cases in Moria: “We are now fighting to make sure that the cases will be legally completed before the approaching deadlines, since currently all authorities are heavily understaffed and most of the stakeholders do not provide their services anymore,” claims a DCI staff member.
DCI-Greece offers free direct protection services to children on the move, including socio-legal defence. Legal and child protection advisors in the section work on the ground, conducting outreach in camps, detention centres, shelters as well in the so-called ‘jungle’ where unaccompanied children live deprived of basic needs, such as water and sanitation, and where every night can bring new deadly dangers within this “no man’s-land”. In 2018/2019, the Children’s Rights Helpdesk of DCI-Greece supported more than 950 children on the move in urgent need.
With their intervention, DCI-Greece moves children out of dire living conditions, making visible their voice and presence. They assist them in their application for asylum status, ensure safety and shelter through a network of partners, facilitate release from detention, protect them from smuggling and exploitation, and support them legally for family unification with their families in other EU countries. Currently they continue with the #dont_leavethekidsalone campaign to raise awareness about the plight of and uplift the voice of unaccompanied children in Greece. Following a pan-European campaign (see link here) where DCI-Greece, the International Secretariat and several other European National Sections participated together with more than 75 other NGOs, relocation of hundreds of unaccompanied minors started despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
To know more:
Child Rights Observer Spring 2020