Psychologists and human rights experts call for protection of children in the 'Jungle' migrant camp in Calais
24 Oct 2016
We call on all national governments to protect the children affected by these policies, ensure that proper safeguards are put in place, and to enforce the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
Psychologists and human rights experts, gathered last week at a meeting ‘Human Rights Education for Psychologists’ at the EIUC (European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation) global village in Venice, the Monastery of San Nicolò, expressed their grave concerns over safety, wellbeing and fundamental rights of children, on the occasion of the closure of the “Jungle” refugee camp in Calais, and called on responsible authorities to enforce the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
It has been estimated that up to 700 children are living in the “Jungle” camp in Calais, 78% of whom are alone.
Polli Hagenaars, initiator of the Experts meeting stated: 'We have an undeniable responsibility to protect children - enshrined in law. We must do everything in our power to protect the fundamental rights of children wherever they are found, and under whatever circumstances. As psychologists, we are very concerned that the eviction, without proper safeguards being put in place, could be a catastrophe for the safety and wellbeing of these vulnerable children, some of them are as young as eight. We note that these children and other children in the refugee camps all over the world are at great risk of trafficking, of rape and sexual exploitation. More generally, it is important to ensure that all children are able to grow and develop into adults, fully able to realise their potential.'
Her urgent message: 'We call on all national governments to protect the children affected by these policies, ensure that proper safeguards are put in place, and to enforce the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.'
Polli Hagenaars is the Chair of the Board Human Rights & Psychology of the European Federation of Psychologists Associations EFPA (www.efpa.eu)