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Gavan condemns Detention of Children in Hungary and calls for European standards

27 June, 2019 - by Paul Gavan

Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan spoke out against the cruel treatment of child refugees by Hungary at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) yesterday.

Speaking during a debate on Wednesday, Senator Gavan said:

“We need to take urgent action to ensure that children affected by the refugee crisis are protected from exploitation and abuse.

“We must provide appropriate safeguards for children in the context of migration and improve standards for reception centres for migrant children.

“I particularly welcome the call for the development of European Standards for reception centres for migrant children.”

Speaking of his experience as part of the Council of Europe delegation for the Campaign to End the Immigration Detention of Children, Senator Gavan condemned the human rights abuses he witnessed in Hungary:

“I witnessed first-hand the disgraceful treatment of unaccompanied migrant children in Hungary.

“I only had the opportunity to speak to three of the children, but their testimony was enough. They were confined in a small caged compound all day, every day. One boy had been there over six months.

“Imagine that. Think of your own son or daughter being imprisoned in this way for this long. This is the reality of life for many migrant children in the EU today.

“One Hungarian official made jokes about the final solution in a meeting with PACE delegates on the same day whilst another proudly declared ‘If someone climbs over our fence, we let the dog deal with that’.

“Another reality is the thousands who never make it that far, left to drown in the Mediterranean, or those condemned to confinement in the EU-funded death camps on the Libyan coast where they are deprived of daylight, food, water, and medicine, and are subject to torture and death.

“We know that it doesn’t have to be this way. The potential to build a humane system for dealing with migrant children is there, with working models in Vienna and Athens. What is lacking is the political will to make it a reality.”

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