On the occasion of World Refugee Day, President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou underlined the need for greater support from the European Union for unaccompanied minors.
Sakellaropoulou called on EU member-states to demonstrate greater solidarity by helping refugee children, referring to her recent visit to a shelter for unaccompanied girl refugees in Ilion as a “rare and moving experience.” Every humane society has an obligation to protect such children, she wrote.
"I saw their optimism and strength. But I also saw the pain, the question, mental fatigue. I saw their need for a home at last, for a country," Sakellaropoulou continued.
"The protection and care of children, the persecuted, those whose life and freedom is threatened, is an obligation of every society that places human beings center-stage," she observed.
"Greece, as a crossroads between East and West, a gateway for the European Union, has shouldered and continues to shoulder a great weight, but has proven that it respects human justice" under the most challenging times, Sakellaropoulou noted, referring to the economic crisis and the continuing threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
The transfer of about 1,600 children and young people will take place this month, with the next transfer (of 25 minors) taking place on June 27 to Portugal.
“As the restrictions are easing, we’re getting prepared for the main phase of the program,” European Union spokesperson, Adalbert Jahnz said.
“We would like to express our gratitude to the eleven participating member states plus Norway, and we continue to strongly encourage all our Member States to show solidarity,” he addded.