Refugee Children

Extract from a talk “An absence of human rights: Children in Detention” given by Dr Sev Odzowski former Australian Human Rights Commissioner (2000-2005) in Melbourne on 17th June 2008

“In fact, half of the world’s refugees and displaced persons are children. They may have fled their home to escape persecutions, human rights violations, exploitation, abuse or natural disasters and many of those who survived are traumatised and confused. In some cases their relatives may have paid a people smuggler to transport them to a place where they believed the child would be safe. They can be from all corners of the globe, but in general, the flows are from South to North and from East to West.”

“Particular increase in child migration took place between 1999 and 2003 when the total of some 90,000 children sought protection in the developed countries. According to UNHCR estimates, during 1999 alone more than 20,000 unaccompanied or separated children applied for asylum in Western Europe, North America, Canada or Australia. They were refugees, humanitarian asylum seekers or victims of trafficking.”

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