Abdul* is sixteen and comes from Afghanistan. He has run away alone from his war-torn country and now lives in Greece. Highly vulnerable, as most unaccompanied minors are, he tells a horrific story of repeated abuse and sexual exploitation along the migration route and upon his arrival to Europe. He suffers from deep traumas.
Up to 50 million children are forcibly displaced around the world today according to UNICEF reports. They are refugees, child migrants, asylum seekers, or displaced within their own countries. Some travel with their parents, others lose their families on the way or travel alone such as Abdul. Most have endured incredible hardship for such a young age and are fighting today to rebuild their lives. These children are usually ignorant of the specific rights that the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) grant them. Even more alarming, many professionals around the world who deal with displaced children daily also lack this knowledge.
Defence for Children International (DCI) strives to protect the rights of the most vulnerable of these children, such as children on the move or children who are victims of conflicts.
A new National Section of DCI was created a year ago in Greece to respond to the huge needs from the flow of migrants and refugees’ minors who remain in that country. DCI is today one of the few independent human rights organisations specifically focused on children’s rights in Greece.
The organisation has supported Abdul with legal advice and has referred him to a volunteer psychiatrist to help him through his recovery process. Abdul has finally been granted asylum in Greece and is currently attending public school. He has begun to feel safer and to have dreams again. He wants to work in the tourism industry one day.
What Defence for Children International Greece does for children on the Move:
- Offers free direct legal services and representation for the most vulnerable children
- Organises Information sessions for the children to support them with their asylum procedures and inform them about their rights
- Investigates and documents Children’s rights violations
- Directs children to Social Services or other non-profit organisations for support
* At DCI, we respect the privacy of the children we help – as many are working toward a fresh start in life. So, while their stories are true, names and images have been changed to protect them. Thank you for understanding.
This post is also available in: FR