In recent months, several aid organisations, such as Médecins Sans Frontières and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, have raised concerns on the increasing accounts of sexual assault on children at Greek refugee camps. According to UNICEF, around 27,500 asylum seeking children are currently accommodated at Greek refugee camps without adequate education and protection. As a result of the overstretched reception capacity in Greece, these children are especially vulnerable to instances of sexual abuse, violence and neglect.

In particular,  serious worries relate to the risk of sexual attacks at Softex camp, a Government-run camp in a disused toilet roll factory. “It is an issue when it comes to Softex and others. UNHCR has been raising concerns about this, specifically about this issue [sexual violence], saying that we don’t think it will be safe for women and for children. We’ve raised the issue of security again and again,” UNHCR stated.

UNICEF stresses that despite the efforts of the Government and partners, there is an urgent need for child friendly temporary accommodation, child protection services and schooling.

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This article will appear in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 2 September 2016. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.