Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore on the European Commission’s proposed Pact on Migration and Asylum

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A child looks out at a bus near the Turkey-Greece border, at Pazarkule, in Edirne district in Turkey on 29 February 2020. © UNICEF/UNI307808/Almohibany

NEW YORK/GENEVA, 23 September 2020 – “The European Commission’s proposed Pact on Migration and Asylum provides a unique opportunity to prioritize children on the move in EU migration and asylum law and policy, and to address inhumane conditions and systemic failures within the migration response in Europe. UNICEF remains fully committed to working with Member States and European Union institutions to uphold specific provisions in the Pact that provide better protection for children.

“Refugee and migrant children, many of whom have fled abject poverty, conflict and unthinkable atrocities, have the right to be safe and develop to their full potential. Children look to European leaders to seize this opportunity to strengthen asylum and reception systems and to manage migration and borders in a way that is humane and upholds their rights as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“The recent, devastating fires in Moria underscore just how stretched and untenable the current system is. UNICEF welcomes the recognition that all children on the move require special protection, whether they are travelling alone or with their families. Safeguards and procedures for children, coupled with a fair and effective protective regime that upholds the rights to assistance, must be translated into action. UNICEF stands ready to work with governments, national and international partners to support countries, in particular those that are hosting the largest number of refugees and migrants, so that every child is given the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. Ultimately, a child is a child.”