Geneva, March 19, 2017: The U.N. children’s fund finds thousands of refugee and migrant children are more vulnerable to deportation and exploitation today than when the European Union-Turkey agreement to stop mass migration flows from Turkey into Europe was enacted one year ago.
UNICEF acknowledges the EU-Turkey deal succeeded in significantly decreasing the number of refugee and migrant children on the move in Europe. However, it notes a disquieting increase in the threats and distress these children endure.
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UNICEF says the underlying causes that prompted children and their families to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea one year ago remain, as millions of people are still affected by the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
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“We observe a very concerning increase of the number of children kept under detention because of their migration status,” said Lucio Melandri, UNICEF senior emergency manager. “So, we see in many countries a number of children that are simply detained for long periods and they are finally kept under what we define as unacceptable situations.”
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Melandri says children who are locked up in detention or stranded on an island for long periods of time suffer from psychological problems. Rather than remaining trapped in Greece or Italy, he says, many unaccompanied children take matters into their own hands to escape.
They will “try alone to contact criminal organizations, to try to cross borders in the night,” Melandri said. “In many cases, these children who are moving alone are leading them to be eventually identified, put under detention. In many cases, we are observing with concern an increasing trend of migrants but, particularly, even children that are simply pushed back.”
Under the EU-Turkey agreement, 120,000 refugees were supposed to have been relocated from Greece and Italy into other European Union member states. To date, UNICEF reports, just over 14,400 children and their families have found new homes, mainly in France, Germany and the Netherlands.
Melandri says the EU should live up to its promises by protecting refugee and migrant children and not leaving them in substandard conditions and emotional distress. (VOA)
Parenting concerns put mothers with advanced cancer at higher risk of psychological distress while decreasing their quality of life as well as day-to-day physical functioning, a study says.
The study, published in the journal Cancer, also suggested that mothers with metastatic cancer (those that spread to other sites in the body) had, on average, higher depression and anxiety scores than did the general population.
“Among women with metastatic cancer, their health-related quality of life is powerfully interlinked with their parenting concerns about the impact of their illness on their minor children,” said co-author Eliza Park, Assistant Professor at University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill in the US.
“It appears to equally contribute to someone’s assessment of their quality of life as some of the clinical variables we routinely ask about,” Park added.
For the study, the researchers conducted an online survey of 224 women who had stage IV solid tumour cancer — cancer that had metastasised or spread elsewhere in the body — and at least one child under the age of 18 years.
The researchers found that their emotional well-being scores were also lower than for all adults with cancer.
The researchers also determined a mother’s emotional well-being was significantly linked with whether she had communicated with her children about her illness and her concerns about how her illness will financially impact her children.
“Parenting-related factors contributed to the amount of variation you see in quality of life almost equally as something like your functional status,” Park said.
The findings point to a need for greater support for mothers with metastatic cancer, the researchers noted. (IANS)