Publish dateSaturday 15 July 2023 - 14:10
Story Code : 273260
About 300 refugee children drowned in the Mediterranean during the last 6 months
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reported on Friday last week that in the first half of this year, 289 boys and girls died while crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe, which is compared to the period The same has been doubled in 2022.
Afghan Voice Agency (AVA): Vera Knaus, head of the migration and displacement department of this agency, told reporters at the UN office in Geneva: "This figure is equivalent to about 11 children every week and much more than that." We hear it in the headlines."
Ms. Knaus added: "We cannot ignore what is happening. When nearly 300 children, equivalent to an entire plane full of children, die in the waters between Europe and Africa in just six months, we cannot remain silent."
UNICEF also estimates that 11,600 children have crossed the Mediterranean Sea in the first six months of this year, almost twice as many as in the same period in 2022.
However, the agency warns that the actual number of child casualties is likely to be higher; Because of the many boats that sank in the central Mediterranean, there are no survivors and the number and identity of their passengers has not been recorded anywhere.
Ms Knaus said the world seems to be "deliberately ignoring what is happening" given the statistics and the silence surrounding these preventable deaths.
UNICEF's investigations have also shown that many of these children cross the dangerous Mediterranean route without parents or guardians, and girls who travel alone often face a lot of violence during this journey.
Ms. Knaus added that the countries of the region and the European Union should not only do more to protect vulnerable children on the sea route, but should also support them in the countries of origin, on the transit route until they reach their destination.
He also emphasized the need to formulate safe, legal and accessible ways for children to receive support and the possibility of their family members joining them and added that countries should increase their coordination in search and rescue operations at sea and avoid the rapid disembarkation of migrants in Ensure safe places.
This is despite the fact that hundreds of refugees, including women and children, have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in several deadly incidents in recent months.
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