Protect children on the move

Situation of the forgotten refugees in Macedonia worsening

Date 22/April/2016
Zones Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Tags children on the move, refugees, emergency

Situation of the forgotten refugees in Macedonia worsening

The network of partners of the Mario project share the grave concerns expressed by UN agencies regarding the poor and precarious conditions that refugees are facing at the transit and asylum centers in Macedonia.

More than 1,000 refugees and migrants are stranded in Macedonia and at the border points, as the so called Balkan route closed on March 7th. The situation of these people is getting worse by the day. Together with the local partner, Open Gate-La Strada, Terre des hommes been actively engaged in the area with its emergency response program and the provision of various types of assistance since October 2015.

The current poor conditions found in the transit centers hosting the stranded refugees and migrants are particularly worrying.  More than a third of the 517 children stranded are under 5 years old, some of them born in the last two months, with pregnant and nursing mothers accommodated in extremely precarious conditions, causing major concerns for their protection.

Refugees express feelings of emotional distress and of not feeling safe in the overcrowded transit centers. Due to the lack of adequate capacities in the centers, refugees have been sleeping on the ground during the night without decent sleeping equipment.

Designed to serve merely as transit centers, the facilities in Macedonia are not equipped and adequate for the current situation and unable to meet basic needs or provide protection for the refugee population, particularly of children and vulnerable persons. The hopelessness of the situation makes some refugees turn towards smugglers and criminal channels, exacerbating the already existent high risks of abuse and violence for them and their children, putting them at risk of being trafficked and exploited on the way.

The Mario network partners share all concerns voiced regarding the precarious situation and call on the national authorities and the European Union to step up their efforts in mitigating this situation and to ensure the provision of adequate assistance and protection to the stranded refugee population, particularly to children as the ones who are most vulnerable in the current grave situation.

 

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