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Eastern Europe: For the rights of children beyond borders

Source: Terre des hommes (Tdh) - Switzerland - Mon, 4 Mar 2013 02:12 PM
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Worried by children being sent back to the Balkans from the EU States, Terre des hommes and ten NGO partners are looking into an analysis of these procedures of return. After this analysis, it will be a question of getting the systems of all the countries concerned to respect child rights and to ensure a follow-up of these children when they have gone back to the country of their family’s origin.

In recent years, many youngsters have been expelled from the EU back to their countries of origin. However, the majority of them do not know for sure the country of their parents, and today have to adapt themselves to a language that they do not always speak, and face up to surroundings that are totally strange for them.

Co-financed by the European Union, this project aims at equipping all the governments involved with a mechanism that will ensure respect for the child during the whole procedure of his/her return. Before this, ‘projects for life’ will be elaborated to guarantee a decent and healthy situation for all these youngsters. Once back in their own country, they will be followed-up and given help should their physical or social development be compromised.

At the beginning, in Albania , Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo , Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, social workers and educationalists will meet the children on their return to the country. The experiences of each one will be compiled and will constitute a data-base bearing on the factors that contribute to the good or bad (re-)integration of the youngsters. During these visits, measures such as access to schooling, job-training or material aid will be proposed to the most vulnerable children. Volunteer workers will also be trained to help the children and to ensure their good adaptation to the new surroundings.

The research will be extended to countries where these children were staying (Austria, France, Greece and Hungary). On one hand, this will permit better understanding of the difficulties that these countries encounter and the mechanisms already set up for the process of return, and on the other, the research will lead to improved dialogue, facilitating future agreements between the countries of destination and of return.

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