A Tide of Self-Harm and Depression

The EU-Turkey Deal’s devastating impact on child refugees and migrants


Date of publication:  21 Mar 2017 Author:  Sacha Myers Imad Aoun Publisher:  Save The Children

The latest report of Save the Children  outlines - through interviews with children and case workers - how the implementation of the EU-Turkey Deal is adversely affecting child refugees and migrants.

One year since the start of the European Union (EU) Deal with Turkey, introduced by the EU to reduce the number of irregular migrants and refugees arriving in Greece from Turkey, thousands of refugees and migrants are now stranded on five Greek islands. They cannot leave until after the assessment of their applications for asylum. As new asylum seekers arrive on the islands, there is an increase in congestion, and many refugees are now living in degrading, detention-like conditions. 

Of the 13,200 asylum seekers trapped on the Greek islands, it is estimated that more than 5,000 of these are children whose childhoods have been put on hold.

Interviews conducted with staff from Save the Children and their partner organization Praksis, who work on the islands, reveal the extent of physical and mental damage happening to child refugees and migrants as they spend their days behind barbed wire, without access to basic services, and under constant police surveillance. In addition to the traumatic events many children have already witnessed in their homeland, some have in the past year survived fires and seen dead bodies, while others have been caught up in or even arrested in protests, fights and demonstrations that frequently sweep the camps


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