Vatican official demands better policies for refugee children

Vatican official demands better policies for refugee children

National and international policies leave migrant children at the mercy of traffickers and sexual predators a Vatican official told the UN.

Policies that involve criminalising and detaining child migrants “are an insult to human dignity” and are “the dramatic evidence of existing inequalities and failing systems,” said Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, Vatican observer to UN agencies in Geneva.

“The grave error of the detention model is that it considers the children as sole, isolated subjects responsible for the situations in which they find themselves and over which they have little, if any, control,” the archbishop said.

“This model wrongly absolves the international community at large from responsibilities that it regularly fails to fulfill.”

Archbishop Jurkovic spoke about the plight of child migrants during a UN Human Rights Council panel discussion on “Unaccompanied migrant children and adolescents and human rights”.

Children forced to flee without the protection of their parents or family members, he said, are given no options for a better life and are often “left at the lower levels of human degradation” due to lack of education and health care.

“They must be considered children first and foremost, and their best interest must be a primary consideration in all actions concerning them,” he added.