Pittella: EU must ensure protection of unaccompanied migrant children

Pittella:  EU must ensure protection of unaccompanied migrant children

Speaking during a debate on the protection of children in the context of migration at the European Parliament today in Strasbourg, S&D Group president Gianni Pittella said:

“There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats children. We believe the EU should do much more to ensure humane and decent treatment for the thousands of unaccompanied minors arriving in Europe. The protection of unaccompanied children is a huge tragedy in the wider tragedy of the refugee crisis. These children may be refugees, internally displaced people or migrants, but first and foremost they are children. No matter where they come from, whoever they are and without any exception.

“The Socialists and Democrats have initiated this call to the European Commission for help to effectively protect these children, victims of the refugee crisis. We want to move from words to action and see promises delivered. We want an ambitious legislative proposal from the Commission on an EU-wide approach tailor-made for all children, not limited only to asylum seekers.

“We urge the EU Commission to prioritise children undergoing relocation, end the arbitrary detention of children, develop effective procedures for children, put in place effective guardianship rules, keep families together and give children legal status.

“It is also fundamental to ensure access to education for all stranded, internally displaced, refugee and migrant children.

“This must be a shared responsibility. Through the way we treat these children, Europe will reveal its true soul.”