25 August 2015 - Unicef has established a child-friendly space with a mobile team near Geveglija town, at the border with Greece to provide much needed support to women and children on the move through the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. 

The child-friendly space has been set up within the compounds of the migrant rest area established by UNHCR. A mobile team from the local NGO LaStrada is helping to reunite children with their families and to provide psychosocial support and early childhood development services to the children. 

The space is providing a safe place for children to rest and play while families complete registration procedures. In addition, the mobile team is screening, identifying and referring children in need of specialized protection services.  

Unicef has procured a set of art, play and educational materials. The child-friendly space can support some 50 children at one time. 

Over the last month the rate of migrants transiting through the country has increased to 1,500 to 2,000 per day – approximately 30 per cent are women and children. Many are escaping conflict in their home countries of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. At greatest risk are migrant children travelling alone without parents or adult family members. 

Children on the move are being shuttled from one authority to another, shunted and at risk of falling through gaps in laws, policies and practices in transit and host countries. They face a future without education, and limited access to justice and health care. At times, they have been subjected to detention and border control practices that endanger their lives. 

Unicef is urging authorities to recognize and treat all migrant children, no matter what their legal status, religion or affiliation, first and foremost as children with rights, as set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. They must receive special care and attention as well as non-discriminatory and consistent protection. Unicef is continuing to monitor the situation on the ground and work with local authorities to ensure children are protected. 

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Notes for editors:

For further information please contact the Unicef UK Press Office on +44 (0)20 7375 6030 or media@unicef.org.uk

Earlier this year Unicef put forward a 10-point plan to the EU to be guided on the best interests of children who are migrants or refugees. http://www.unicef.org/media/media_81876.html 

About Unicef

Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.  

Unicef UK raises funds to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children.  As a registered charity we raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies and we lobby and campaign to keep children safe. Unicef UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK. For more information please visit unicef.org.uk