Unaccompanied minors in Belgium: Some good news by leaving out the bad

In August, the UNHCR reported this story about Afghan refugee youth seeking asylum in Belgium. While the picture it paints is not good, the article does show it’s possible for some people in some communities to make an attempt to welcome the young ones who have arrived after a life-threatening ordeal. The article also mentions similar programs in other European countries to help unaccompanied minors who arrive to seek asylum.

The article does not mention the fact that many countries, especially Greece, throw refugee children in prisons while they await their asylum decisions,or simply send them back to Turkey. Or the fact that once they turn 18, or if they lose their case, they can be captured by police and forcibly returned to their countries, where there are special youth centers for returned asylum-seekers. A fuller picture of the situation can be found in news articles like this one, which can be independent in a way that sadly the UNHCR cannot be.

So the article depicts a welcome for these youth, but without also showing the reality of those who are unwelcome or what happens when that welcome is brutally revoked, or what happens when the kids turn 18 and there is no official reason to treat them humanely anymore.


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Filed under Afghans, Children, Europe

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