Where “public opinion and political expediency” have led to harsher treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, people still have an obligation to make special efforts to assist child refugees, said Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s representative to U.N. agencies in Geneva. Archbishop Tomasi focused on the mistreatment of asylum seekers, especially unaccompanied minors, during an address on Oct. 4 before the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. In 2008, he said, 11,292 asylum applications were lodged by unaccompanied minors in 22 European Union states. With the violence across North Africa and the Arab world this year, he said, “Hundreds of unauthorized lone boys from the Middle East…are making their way across Europe,” facing possible exploitation and requiring special attentiveness from immigration authorities.
Child Refugees at Risk