More than 100,000 Syrian refugees have entered neighbouring countries amid ongoing violence in their home nation.
Melissa Fleming, of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, describes the latest situation to Al Jazeera.
On November 14, 2013 the Bulgarian Council of Ministers adopted the draft amendments to the Law on Asylum and Refugees (LAR). The amendments introduce the detention of asylum seekers in closed-type facilities, bail measures and denial of prompt access to their registration card.
The proposed amendments violate the rights of the most vulnerable group – children seeking asylum. Between January and December 2013 the children seeking asylum in Bulgaria are 2135. Some are unaccompanied by relatives or family.
Why is the detention of children in closed-type centers dangerous?
The deprivation of liberty damages a child’s normal development. It is unconditionally prohibited by the Bulgarian Child Protection Act.
Bail is a measure of deterrence and is only applied against persons accused of having committed a crime. Detention in closed-type centers is a compulsory administrative measure for irregular migrants, who are to be deported from the country. Thus, under the proposed LAR amendments, children seeking asylum will be treated as criminals and irregular migrants to be deported. A child seeking asylum cannot be deemed irregular migrant before a procedure of granting or refusing of international asylum has taken place.
The children seeking asylum in Bulgaria are not criminals. They are not irregular migrants either. The children seeking asylum are vulnerable. Let us protect them, not prosecute them.
Watch the video to learn how you can help the children seeking asylum.