(只有英文)地中海岸兒童死亡數字上升 聯合國組織呼籲加強難民及移民安全

 

(只有英文)地中海岸兒童死亡數字上升 聯合國組織呼籲加強難民及移民安全

On 26 November, two small children carrying balloons hold hands with a man and an older boy as they board a train north from the town of Gevgelija, on the border with Greece. In the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Government has begun restricting the flow of refugees and migrants on the move, and is allowing only Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans to continue their journey. About 1,000 people are stranded at the main entry point into the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia from Greece.

In late November 2015, refugee and migrant flows into Europe remain at an unprecedented high. Since the beginning of the year, over 870,000 refugees and migrants have crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. Many of them are escaping conflict and insecurity in their home countries of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and the Syrian Arab Republic. More than one in five is a child.  Recent restrictions imposed by governments at several border crossings in the Balkans is creating additional hardships and challenges for refugee and migrants, including leaving some stranded at various crossing points, creating tensions and protests at border crossings, or forcing others to take further risks by taking dangerous smuggling routes to reach safety. UNICEF, together with partners UNHCR and IOM, is supporting child-friendly spaces in reception centres at border crossings along the Balkan routes, mobilizing for winter and working with governments to strengthen child protection systems for all children, including refugee and migrant children. UNICEF is also monitoring and providing assistance with partners at these points, and is providing blankets, winter clothing and other key items to meet basic needs.

In late November 2015, refugee and migrant flows into Europe remain at an unprecedented high. Since the beginning of the year, over 870,000 refugees and migrants have crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. Many of them are escaping conflict and insecurity in their home countries of Afghanis

© UNICEF/UN03122/Gilbertson VII Photo –  In the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Government has begun restricting the flow of refugees and migrants on the move, and is allowing only Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans to continue their journey.

(只提供英文版本)

GENEVA/ HONG KONG, 19 February 2016 – An average of two children have drowned every day since September 2015 as their families try to cross the eastern Mediterranean, and the number of child deaths is growing said IOM, UNHCR, and UNICEF.  The agencies are calling for enhancing the safety of those escaping conflict and despair.

Since last September, when the tragic death of toddler Aylan Kurdi captured the world’s attention, more than 340 children, many of them babies and toddlers, have drowned in the eastern Mediterranean.  The total number of children who have died may be even greater, the agencies say, their bodies lost at sea.

“We cannot turn our faces away from the tragedy of so many innocent young lives and futures lost – or fail to address the dangers so many more children are facing,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.  “We may not have the ability now to end the desperation that causes so many people to try to cross the sea, but countries can and must cooperate to make such dangerous journeys safer. No one puts a child in a boat if a safer option is available.”

The stretch of the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece is among the deadliest routes in the world for refugees and migrants.  The winter’s rough seas, overloading and the poor quality of boats and lifesaving equipment increase the risk of capsizing, making the journey significantly more dangerous.

“These tragic deaths in the Mediterranean are unbearable and must stop,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “Clearly, more efforts are needed to combat smuggling and trafficking. Also, as many of the children and adults who have died were trying to join relatives in Europe, organising ways for people to travel legally and safely, through resettlement and family reunion programmes for example, should be an absolute priority if we want to reduce the death toll," he added. The UN Secretary General has called for a high-level meeting on global responsibility-sharing through legal pathways for admission of Syrian refugees, to take place in Geneva on 30 March.

© UNICEF/UN07723/Kljajo
Many children arrive with acute respiratory infections due to winter conditions. Almost 3000 refugees transit the Center daily. After registration and receiving basic services and supplies, refugees and migrants are boarded back to trains which take them to Slovenia.

With children now accounting for 36 per cent of those on the move, the chance of them drowning on the Aegean Sea crossing from Turkey to Greece has grown proportionately. During the first six weeks of 2016, 410 people drowned out of the 80,000 crossing the eastern Mediterranean. This amounts to 35-fold increase year-on-year from 2015.

“Counting lives is not enough. We must act,” said William Lacy Swing, IOM’s Director General in Geneva. “This is not only a Mediterranean problem, or even a European one. It is a humanitarian catastrophe in the making that demands the entire world’s engagement. Haiti’s 2010 earthquake was not a matter for only one hemisphere, nor was the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami. Those disasters were met by an outpouring of humanitarian action. So must this one.”