from AHMED ZAYED in Tripoli, Libya
TRIPOLI – THERE are indications more children than the reported 1 600 have died over the past five years during boat journeys to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) documented the deaths between 2014 and 2018.
IOM, which lamented the growing number of children embarking on dangerous migrant journeys, highlighted the need for better data on migrant deaths and disappearances, particularly those of missing migrant youngsters.
“Tragically, we have been reminded in recent days that children are among the most vulnerable groups of migrants,” said Frank Laczko, Director of IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC).
He said the lack of data on the ages, characteristics and vulnerabilities of missing migrant children created serious protection gaps.
“It makes it very difficult to create programmes and policies designed to protect them (children),” Laczko said.
Most victims drowning or disappearing in the Mediterranean sea board unsound boats from Libya.
Apart from the risk of death on their way to Europe, migrant children are vulnerable, once in that continent. The minors can be subject to abuse in detention centres or transit zones, sexual assault and violence.
Others live on the streets to avoid deportation.
“They (children) are also at risk of being sexually exploited or of being exploited as undocumented workers,” parliamentarians from the Council of Europe (COE) stated.
Last Friday, COE pledged to combat violence against migrant children.
The organisation aims to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe.
– CAJ News