Right now, we are amidst the largest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.
65 million people have been forced to flee their homes because of conflict and war. Most of those fleeing conflict – over 38 million – are displaced within their own countries. Others have found shelter in neighbouring countries. Back in January, The Guardian reported that 10,000 unaccompanied child refugees have gone missing after arriving in Europe, according to the EU’s criminal intelligence agency, Europol.
Such statements and large numbers can be difficult to put into context. The 10,000 Missing Children Campaign have put it into context anyone could understand:
Imagine your child went missing. What would you do?
Your entire community would drop everything to search for them. They’d make national news headlines – there would be flyers, online campaigns at the very least. What if 14 children went missing from your town. Now imagine 14 children going missing from EVERY town in Ireland. That’s 10,000 children in total. It seems unimaginable, doesn’t it?
Yet this is happening to refugee children in Europe right now. 10,000 children are missing.
Hozier, John Connors, Bláthnaid Treacy, Little Green Cars and Wyvern Lingo appealed on behalf of the 10,000 Missing Children Campaign in a moving video released today, asking for everyone to sign a petition to pressure the Justice and Home Affairs Council to guarantee the safety of unaccompanied children, and to guarantee protection for their basic rights. The petition has 2.5k signatures already. By signing this petition, the 10,000 Missing Children Campaign explains that you are also signing “demanding that they receive access to basic nutrition, health care, education and legal assistance, imploring the EU states to treat cases of missing unaccompanied and separated refugee and migrant children with the urgency and seriousness they would any other child and refusing to look the other way, while this ethically indefensible human rights breach of the most vulnerable people on the continent takes place.”
You can sign the petition and find out more here.
The government agreed in September 2015 to establish the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) and to accept up to 4,000 refugees. To date, a year later, only 273 people have been resettled in Ireland. In establishing the Irish Refugee Protection Programme, Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald highlighted the special plight of unaccompanied children. However, to date only one unaccompanied child has been relocated to Ireland. The Irish Refugee Council urges the government to prioritise the relocation of the most vulnerable refugees, including unaccompanied children. The 10,000 Missing Children Campaign asks the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council to guarantee the safety and basic human rights of these children.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Sign the petition pressuring the Justice and Home Affairs Council to guarantee the safety of unaccompanied children.
Share the petition.
Ask Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald by signing this petition on Uplift.ie to do all she can to create the “safe haven” she promised and bring the 35 unaccompanied and stranded children from Greece that the Director of the Greek Asylum Service tweeted that they had no room left for.
@MargaretTuite1 It’s dismal: We now have 35 UAM cases we don’t know which MS to submit to for relocation. We have run out of places for UAMs
— Maria Stavropoulou (@ms_asylumGR) 3 June 2016
Watch the video below.