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UNICEF Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe: Humanitarian Situation Report #36 (Jan – Jun 2020)

last modified Aug 17, 2020 02:11 PM

Highlights

• A total of 26,800 refugees and migrants (19% children) have arrived in Europe through the Mediterranean since January. With COVID-19, the number of arrivals decreased almost by a quarter, compared to the same period in 2019. This is the case in all countries except Italy where, arrivals have increased partly as a result of the fighting in Libya.

• 19,600 children in Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro accessed mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), child protection case management and referral, while 13,850 attended formal and 4,425 non-formal education activities. Almost 5,270 women, girls, boys and men benefitted from gender-based violence (GBV) prevention and response.

• The situation of the refugee and migrant population deteriorated further due to the pandemic. In several countries, the lockdown, border closures and pushbacks on international borders resulted in overcrowded reception facilities with limited access to services. While UNICEF and partners moved some activities online, in-person provision of health care, immunization, nutrition counselling, and training of frontline workers was affected. Access to asylum procedures and family reunifications were impacted.

• Refugees and migrants have been increasingly subject to stigma and discrimination. Children, including unaccompanied and separated children (UASC), have become more exposed to psychological distress, sexual abuse and violence. Emergency placements in cases of violence have been made more difficult with movement restrictions and the unavailability of statutory actors.

• At regional level, inter-agency advocacy to relocate 1,600 UASC from Greece to other EU Member States was initiated. The EC-led scheme aims at reducing health and protection risks in reception facilities while lessening the burden on the Greek child protection system. Swift actions of countries like Luxembourg, Germany, Ireland, Portugal and Finland, in relocating children despite the COVID-19 constraints, helped to inspire more relocation pledges.

Full report here