Protecting children in the context of the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe
Geographical coverage: Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Austria, Slovenia and Bulgaria
Duration: October 2016 – January 2018
Donor: European Union (European Commission, DG Justice)
Summary: As for September 2016 according to IOM’s Flow Monitoring System, 312,000 migrants and refugees have arrived to Europe by land and sea routes since the start of the year. An FRA (Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union) has found that identification of children is widely lacking and other serious difficulties facing children, which make them the most vulnerable. In all countries in the region, IOM has observed an increase in the numbers of trafficked and exploited people as well as in the number of children. This 15 month project is funded by a direct grant of the European Union for 7 IOM missions. During our work we would like cooperate closely with governmental and non-governmental organs as well as international organizations, like UNICEF, UNHCR and Save the Children. The project has 4 modules: (1) We will participate in the development of child protection standards in reception and transit centres and Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) to ensure consistent and efficient coordination between child protection and all relevant stakeholders at IOM’s target intervention points. IOM will particularly ensure to strengthen procedures for identifying and referring cases of abuse and (potential) trafficking to specialized care in the national/transnational context. (2) We will ensure availability to all stakeholders and provide information to children, orally and via information sheets in a way they can understand. We will provide direct assistance to recognized refugee children, beneficiaries of subsidiary protection and their eligible family members. We will also facilitate for migrant children unhindered access to national child protection systems on the same basis as all other children. This will be done by ensuring that children at arrival, transit and destination points will be informed of their rights and should feel safe through stronger presence of child protection authorities. (3) We will participate in the capacity-building process in all countries of focus, we will organize trainings for frontline workers with particular emphasis on the enforcement of Child Safeguarding standards, and also for child care professionals, who are involved the most contacting unaccompanied minors and migrant families with children. (4) We will participate in the data collection effort as part of its established early warning information sharing network and contribute to the development/enhancement of monitoring tools and we will provide regular situation reports on children in migration.