Greece Commits to End Practice of Detaining Unaccompanied Migrant Children in Jail Cells

Unaccompanied children line up for an evening meal .-©-2015-Kelly-Lynn-Lunde

In what is seen as a huge victory for children’s rights, the Greek government is ending the long-standing practice of detaining unaccompanied migrant children in jail cells.

The announcement was made on November 18 by the Migration and Asylum Minister of Greece, Notis Mitarakis. As of that date no unaccompanied migrant children remained in police custody, he said.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) published its first report on the consequences of the “protective custody” regime—as this practice is called in Greece—in 2008.

Since then, HRW has interviewed dozens of unaccompanied children who found themselves detained by Greek police for weeks and in some cases months in small, overcrowded and unsanitary police station cells.

HRW said: “In some cases, they were held with unrelated adults – often criminal detainees – despite the increased risk of abuse and sexual violence. In December 2016, we published yet another report, renewing our call to Greek authorities to end this practice. International law prohibits any form of migration detention for children.”

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SOURCE: Assist News Service