African Children Suffering Abuse in Europe

Tripoli — CHILD refugees who have endured dangerous journeys via the Mediterranean Sea still face risks and hardship once in Europe.

These challenges include unsafe accommodation, being incorrectly registered as adults and a lack of appropriate care.

Children, many travelling without their parents, make up more than a quarter of some 80 800 people that have arrived in Europe via Mediterranean routes.

"These children may have fled conflict, lost family members, been away from home for months, even years, with some enduring horrific abuses during their journeys, but their suffering doesn't stop at the border," said Pascale Moreau, Director of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees' (UNHCR) Europe Bureau.

Moreau said across Europe, unaccompanied children, in particular, were frequently housed in large centres with minimal oversight, exposing them to further abuse, violence and psychological distress.

Greece has received the majority of arrivals across the Mediterranean region this year - more than Spain, Italy, Malta, and Cyprus combined.

So far, more than 12 900 children have arrived in Greece by sea, including almost 2 100 unaccompanied or separated children.

As of the end of September, most unaccompanied children in Greece were still in unsuitable accommodation.

Children's rights groups have bemoaned conditions in overcrowded and unsanitary reception centres.

Most refugees and migrants access Mediterranean routes via war-torn Libya.

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