KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghan children fleeing their war-torn home country are facing danger as they make their way through Iran and Eastern European countries. Many of these children’s parents have paid smugglers to bring them to a safe country, and as they travel alone they are being preyed upon by traffickers.
This is particularly a problem in the port city of Petras, Greece, where many of these children are camped hoping to sneak on to ferries going to Western Europe. Recently, police in Petras raided one of these camps; the children living there scattered across the city, causing them to become even more vulnerable to trafficking. The United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Refugees has called the situation in Petras a “humanitarian crisis” and the UN office in Greece has asked for immediate support for the children. Authorities in Petras refuse to offer assistance to the children because they fear that the city will become an even larger magnet for refugees.
The Afghan government has been criticized recently for its inability to address human rights in its country. Because it cannot protect these children in Afghanistan, they are fleeing to other countries and facing many dangers along the way.
For more information, please see:
Impunity Watch – Impunity in Afghanistan: UN Statement – 19 March 2008
International Herald Tribune – Afghanistan’s youngest migrants adrift on the road to asylum – 24 March 2008