1,200 migrant children in Greece relocated in two years

Over 1,200 unaccompanied migrant children in Greece have been relocated across 13 European countries as a result of Greece's Voluntary Relocation Program, which now counts two years of operations.

Meanwhile, the number of unaccompanied children who sought asylum in the European Union in 2021 jumped by 72%.

The program was introduced in April 2020 by the ruling New Democracy party led by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

It is managed by the Special Secretariat for the Protection of Unaccompanied Minors with the support of the European Commission and the cooperation of thirteen EU Member States and other countries as well as international organizations such as IOM Greece, and UNHCR GREECE, the EU Agency for Asylum (EUAA) and METAdrasi.

"European countries will continue to work together to ensure the equitable distribution and responsibility, to ensure their safe transport, and the reception and hospitality of unaccompanied children, to facilitate their smooth social integration in the host countries," said a statement released by Greece's Migration & Asylum.

Some 2,000 unaccompanied children in Greece

In related developments, the number of unaccompanied children in Greece remained close to the country's current capacity at just over 2,000, following announcements by the European Union on Wednesday that the number of unaccompanied children who sought asylum in the European Union in 2021 jumped by 72% -- a result of the number of refugees arriving from Afghanistan rising sharply, the bloc's statistics office Eurostat said on Wednesday (May 4).

According to the latest figures released by the Greek authorities, a total of 2,037 children remain in Greece currently, out of which: 89% are boys and 11% are girls, staying in various types of accommodation facilities in the country.

Overall, Greece has a total capacity of 2,320 places in accommodation centers (Shelters/SIL apartments), and 180 places in emergency accommodation facilities.

Eurostat: Figures in Europe

Across Europe, Eurostat said 23,255 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum last year, up from 13,550 in 2020. Most of those who came from Afghanistan, where the Taliban seized power from the former US-backed government last August, were male and aged 16 or 17.

The war-torn country's economy collapsed last year and thousands fled after US and other foreign forces withdrew.

EU states granted asylum in 267,360 cases last year, of which half of applicants were deemed to be refugees and the remainder given subsidiary and humanitarian protection status.

Syrian citizens accounted for over a quarter of successful asylum cases last year, followed by Afghans and Venezuelans.

Germany, France and Italy were their main destinations.

Based on available data, EU countries granted asylum to 5,070 unaccompanied minors, 34% of whom received refugee status.

Almost 25,000 displaced Ukrainians in Greece

Meanwhile, a total of 24,929 Ukrainians, of whom 6,729 are minors, have arrived in Greece since the start of the war in Ukraine.

Greece officially opened their digital platform to offer Ukrainian refugees temporary protection exactly one month ago in April at the country's regional asylum offices in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras and on the island of Crete.

The move is part of Greece's measures to assist the thousands of displaced Ukrainian refugees who have arrived in the country after joining millions of others in fleeing their country due to Russia's ongoing invasion.

According to a short announcement via Greece's Ministry of Immigration and Asylum's website, those people who are entitled should call for an appointment with the Asylum Service via the digital platform and to go to the offices according to their appointment.

SOURCE: InfoMigrants


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