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Socialists and Democrats call for Child Protection Package to support the millions of children fleeing Ukraine and in Ukraine

Date

18 Mar 2022

Sections

Global Europe

With millions of children fleeing or displaced in Ukraine, the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament are calling on the Commission and the Council to urgently agree an EU-Ukraine Child Protection Package with the Ukrainian government.

In a letter to the Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Council President Charles Michel, we support NGO calls for strengthening children’s rights and for emergency relief essentials, like shelter and basic healthcare, for children fleeing or in Ukraine. As so many are at serious risk of abuse, exploitation and trafficking, the S&D Group is also insisting on child protection measures for everyone involved in helping children throughout the crisis.

The S&D Group is calling for a debate on a Child Protection Package for the April plenary session of the European Parliament. The Socialists and Democrats are also establishing an S&D Ukraine Contact Group to address all aspects of the war and its consequences across all political areas and parliamentary committees, set to meet for the first time on Wednesday 23 March.

Iratxe García, S&D Group president, said:

“We must do our utmost to stop the attacks, which are hitting civil targets including homes, schools and hospitals. But at the same time we have to protect displaced minors to provide as much safety and stability as possible, in a coordinated way. When I spoke with local authorities and local communities helping refugees, both at Hungary’s border with Ukraine and in Berlin central train station, they all stressed the need to protect children from exploitation, abuse and human trafficking. We also have to think about housing and schooling. The consequences of the war will be long-lasting and we need a specific set of actions to safeguard children’s rights.”

Heléne Fritzon, vice-president responsible for children’s rights, said:

“According to the UN, one child becomes a refugee in Ukraine almost every second. It is heart-breaking to see so many innocent children seeing their families torn apart and their lives turned upside down. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to have a devastating impact on children’s lives as millions seek safety and protection either in the EU or in Ukraine. As Putin continues to wage this cruel war, we cannot let children down. Children’s rights must be protected and strengthened and we must make sure that children’s specific needs are met, including child protection, child-friendly spaces, education and psychosocial support. With a Child Protection Package we can work with the Ukrainian government to make sure all children, either in the EU or in Ukraine, receive the protection and assistance they need. It is their right and our obligation.”

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