S&Ds: member states must act to protect child migrants

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During a debate in the European Parliament in Brussels, S&D MEPs today urged EU member states to do more to protect child migrants arriving in Europe.
 
Caterina Chinnici MEP, S&D Group spokesperson for the Parliament’s Intergroup of children, said:
 
“In 2017, over 30,000 migrant children arrived in Greece, Italy, Spain, and Bulgaria; almost half of these were not accompanied by an adult. EU governments have a moral and legal obligation to protect these children. Over a year ago, the European Commission called for member states to take action to ensure these children had the support and care they needed. However, many member states have still not implemented the Commission’s recommendations.
 
“Today the European Parliament sent a clear message to member states to act. They must ensure that every child is given adequate shelter, that a guardian is appointed on arrival, and that access to health care, psychological support and education are guaranteed. We must also speed up the process of family reunification, reconnecting children with their family members as quickly as possible.
 
Birgit Sippel MEP, S&D Group spokesperson for civil liberties, justice and home affairs, added:
 
“These children are in an incredibly vulnerable position. Over the last few years, thousands have gone missing from official records. The EU needs to do all in its power to ensure their safety. The European Commission must start infringement procedures against member states that continue with the protracted and systemic detention of migrant children. The fear of being detained is a key reason why children are disappearing from the system and avoiding the authorities that should be there to help them.
 
“Member states must also not use coercion to take children's biometric data – which is a clear violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We are very pleased that, despite opposition from the EPP and other right wing groups, the Parliament has backed our proposal on this.”