Some 1,500 children have sought asylum in Romania during pandemic; most are unaccompanied minors

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Romania has seen a historic number of asylum requests since the pandemic started, including 1,500 children, the head of a non-governmental organization said Thursday.

Unaccompanied minors

“It is alarming that 62% of the children are unaccompanied minors,” said  Gabriela Alexandrescu, the executive president of Save the Children-Romania.

She said in the first six months of the year, there were 5,102 asylum requests, including 1,511 children. Of those, 875 were children without parents, she said Thursday, Agerpres reported.

She made the remarks during an online debate about social inclusion of migrants in local communities.

Asylum seekers

More than half of the asylum seekers come from Afghanistan. Some 70% of the displaced children come from Afghanistan, with another 15% from Syria and 7% from Iraq.

She said the pressure from the influx of migrants meant authorities needed to do more planning, and have flexible measures and support mechanisms in place.

One of the main problems posed by unaccompanied minors is a legal guardian during the procedure of offering international protection.

Social inclusion program

The social inclusion program is done in partnership with the Association of Jesuits Service for Refugees in Romania, supported by Active Citizens Fund Romania and financed by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Gabriela Alexandrescu said children trapped in war-torn Afghanistan “are in a dramatic situation”

“Hundreds have had to leave their homes and in many cases their families and flee from violence,” she said calling for greater social services in refugee centers.

Educational support

NGOs, such as Save the Children have offered educational support, sanitary products, clothing and food. Six hundred children, including 302 unaccompanied minors have been given help, educational support and counseling.

Save the Children has been active in asylum cases in Romania since 1995.

  Thousands of Romanian children ran away from home during the pandemic. Almost 400 are still missing


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