According to UNICEF, there are an estimated 5.4 million migrant children living in Europe; whereas the latest figures from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) show that 32 039 children arrived in Greece, Italy, Spain and Bulgaria in 2017 and almost half of them were unaccompanied or separated children. Despite these big numbers, which are not showing signs of decreasing, Member States are still facing challenges implementing the Commission’s recommendations on the protection of children in migration, said former Prime Minister Alfred Sant when voting in favour of a resolution on protecting children in migration at the European Parliament.
Dr Sant said that in most of the EU countries, the lack of reliable information, and lengthy family reunification and guardian appointment procedures, together with the fear of being detained, sent back or transferred, is resulting in children absconding, leaving them exposed to trafficking, violence and exploitation. Moreover, the lack of child protection services and activities for children at reception sites has also a detrimental impact.
“For this reason, I voted in favour of this resolution of the European Parliament, which is a call for action for Member States.”
The interest of children is a priority and this resolution urges Member States to speed up with relocation procedure, to provide psychological aid, to ensure that all children have access to child protection officers upon their arrival, including in hotspots and facilities hosting children and at border-entry points, said Dr Sant.

Maltese Version – 5.4 MILJUN IMMIGRANT TIFEL U TIFLA JGĦIXU FL-EWROPA

Ċifri maħruġa mill-UNICEF jistmaw li 5.4 miljun immigrant tifel u tifla jgħixu fl-Ewropa waqt li 32, 039 tifel u tifla waslu l-Ġreċja, l-Italja, Spanja u l-Bulgarija fl-2017 u kważi nofshom kienu waħedhom jew ġew separati. Minkejja dawn iċ-ċifri għoljin, li mhux juru ħjiel ta’ tnaqqis, l-Istati Membri għadhom jaffaċċjaw sfidi biex jimplimentaw ir-rakkomandazzjonijiet tal-Kummissjoni fuq il-protezzjoni tat-tfal tal-immigranti, qal Alfred Sant fil-Parlament Ewropew waqt li vvota favur riżoluzzjoni fuq il-protezzjoni tat-tfal tal-immigranti.
Dr Sant qal li f’ħafna pajjiżi tal-UE, in-nuqqas ta’ informazzjoni affidabbli, u d-dewmien biex jingħaqdu mal-familji tagħhom u tal-ħatra tat-tuturi, flimkien mal-biża’ li jiġu detenuti, mibgħuta lura jew ittrasferiti, qed jirriżulta fi tfal li jaħarbu u li jkunu esposti għal traffikar, vjolenza u sfruttament. Barra minn hekk, in-nuqqas ta’ servizzi ta’ protezzjoni u attivitajiet apposta għat-tfal f’postijiet ta’ akkoljenza qed ikollu wkoll impatt negattiv.
“Għal din ir-raġuni, ivvotajt favur din ir-riżoluzzjoni fil-Parlament Ewropew għax titlob lill-Istati Membri biex jieħdu azzjoni. L-interess tat-tfal huwa prijorita` u din ir-riżoluzzjoni tħeġġeġ lill-Istati Membri jħaffu l-proċedura ta’ rilokazzjoni, jipprovdu għajnuna psikoloġika u jiżguraw li t-tfal kollha jkollhom aċċess għal uffiċjal tal-protezzjoni mal-wasla tagħhom, inkluż f’ħafna postijiet u faċilitajiet li jospitaw tfal u f’punti ta’ dħul fuq il-fruntiera,” qal il-Kap tad-Delegazzjoni Laburista fil-Parlament Ewropew.