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)
Latest reports of WHO, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the rate of deaths from measles has dropped.
As per experts, a number of people who died from measles in 2016 were about 90,000, compared to 550,000 in 2000.
The World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the rate of deaths from measles has dropped 84 percent since the beginning of a global vaccination campaign in 2000.
Experts say the number of people who died from the disease in 2016 was about 90,000, compared to more than 550,000 deaths in 2000. This marks the first time that worldwide measles deaths have fallen to less than 100,000 per year.
Robert Linkins, of the Measles and Rubella Initiative at the CDC, said in a statement that “saving an average of 1.3 million lives per year through vaccine is an incredible achievement and makes a world free of measles seem possible, even probable, in our lifetime.”
Since 2000, some 5.5 billion doses of measles vaccine have been administered to children through routine immunization services and mass vaccination campaigns. The disease is contagious through air particles and can spread quickly. The disease kills more people every year than any other vaccine-preventable disease.
But the WHO says the world is still far from reaching regional measles elimination goals. Since 2009, officials have managed to deliver a first dose of the vaccine to 85 percent of the babies who need it, but there has been no improvement in that rate in eight years. And only 64 percent of the affected population has gotten the second dose, which comes when a child is four or five years old.
The WHO says “far too many children” — about 20.8 million — have not had their first vaccine dose. Most of those children live in Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The disease puts children at risk of developing complications such as pneumonia, diarrhea, encephalitis, and blindness.(VOA)
Mumbai, Oct 25 : Megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who has served as Unicef Goodwill Ambassador for the polio eradication campaign in India, says he is fortunate to be the top most influencer for the organisation.
Amitabh on Tuesday shared a list of names of top influencers.
“Among top ‘influencers’ for fight against polio, a list by Unicef. Privileged to be the top most influencer. Thank you UN!” Big B tweeted.
The actor, 75, has been supporting and promoting various health and related issues such as childhood immunization programme, anti-tuberculosis campaign and the ‘Clean India’ initiative.
“Unicef Polio; World Polio Day, every child deserves to live a polio free life! I worked eight years on it and today India is polio free.”
On the acting front, Amitabh, who has wrapped up shooting for “Kaun Banega Crorepati”, has two films in his kitty — “Thugs Of Hindostan” and “102 Not Out” (IANS)
Bangladesh, October 20, 2017 : Nearly fifty-eight per cent of the about 600,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are children who suffer from severe malnutrition, a UN report released said.
The UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) report also said that these children were highly exposed to infectious diseases, Efe news reported.
“In a sense it’s no surprise that they must truly see this place as a hell on earth,” said Simon Ingram, Unicef official and author of the report.
Titled “Outcast and Desperate: Rohingya refugee children face a perilous future” was released at a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
After two weeks in Cox’s Bazar, a southern Bangladesh town where nearly 600,000 newly arrived refugees are crammed into a crowd of 200,000 Rohingyas who had fled earlier, Ingram described the situation fraught with “despair, misery and indescribable suffering”.
The report highlights the dangers these Rohingya minors faced during the attacks when they were in Myanmar or when they were fleeing the repression to Bangladesh.
The report also highlighted several drawings of children with uniformed soldiers killing people and helicopters spraying bullets from the sky.
In mid-August, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) carried out a coordinated attack on security posts in Myanmar, sparking a violent response from the military which led to thousands of Rohingyas in Rakhine state fleeing to neighboring Bangladesh.
Ingram explained that very little is known about what is happening in Rakhine, since humanitarian agencies have not been able to enter the region since August.
Most of the refugees “are already undernourished, since the repression also included the burning of food stores and the destruction of crops”, he said.
According to the Unicef estimates, one in every five children under the age of five is suffering from acute malnutrition and about 14,500 suffer severe acute malnutrition.
Ingram explained that the main danger of infectious diseases have been mitigated with the vaccination campaign against cholera, measles and polio, but much remains to be done to tackle these risks.
He added the situation worsened with the lack of clean drinking water as these children consumed only contaminated water which is another main source of infection.
With regard to child protection, the expert welcomed the fact that the number of unaccompanied children had decreased to 800, with the identification tasks carried out by the various humanitarian agencies on the ground.
Regarding sexual abuse or forced or early marriages, Ingram explained that for now they have only punctual evidence, but that it is a real risk in any situation such as in Cox’s Bazar.
What does occur relatively frequently, he said, is child labour.
In the area of protection, the essential issue is the status of these people.
Not only do they have to be recognized as refugees, but also that newborns in the countryside or along the way, he said, should be able to obtain some kind of birth certificate.
Unicef and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are negotiating with the Bangladeshi authorities the possibility of issuing birth certificates for newborn Rohingyas, but the talks are still in process.
The Rohingyas are a Muslim minority that Myanmar does not recognize as citizens and are therefore stateless. (IANS)