Unicef has renewed its appeal to European governments to protect child refugees and migrants by ensuring that none of them spends the night without shelter and access to basic services.
The UN’s organisation promoting the rights and wellbeing of children said the dire situation unfolding at border points along the Balkan land route, especially in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece, has left thousands of children stranded, distressed and at risk of poor health and abuse.
Unicef disclosed that in the chaos and confusion, children have been forced to sleep outside in the open in squalid conditions for over a week, lacking access to basic services, such as showers and the right food.
“What I am witnessing here is small children under the age of five stuck in between two fences,” said Jesper Jensen, Unicef emergency field co-ordinator in Gevgelijia, in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. “They cannot go forward and they cannot go back – they need shelter and rest and they need to know what lies ahead.”