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In Greece, detention of migrant minors is still a fact even tough all the EU countries have ratified the Child Rights Convention that clearly prohibits it.

Also the Resolution adopted by the European Parliament at the end of November 2014 to mark  the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child calls on the  Member States to take action to end the detention of migrant children across the EU.

We collected the testimony of Georgios Polymerou, a psychologist in the ARSIS reception center for minors near Thessaloniki. ARSIS is our Destination Unknown campaign’s partner in Greece, specialized in the psycho-social support of youth. This testimony is more relevant than ever since the new Greek government is currently discussing possible alternatives to the detention of migrants especially minors and vulnerable groups.

In its report 2012, The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child urged States to

“expeditiously  and  completely  cease  the  detention  of  children  on  the  basis  of  their  immigration  status  or  that  of their  parents”

In this video, Giorgios explains the situation of children on the move in Greece. Their origins are as varied as the risks they are facing by making this trip. Most of the children in the center (in October 2014) came from Afghanistan, Syria, Mali and Pakistan – countries in crisis. Some of them came from Morocco, Algeria and Albania. These children are fleeing bad situations in the hope for better future :

“They will always find a way to come here [Greece] if their lives are in danger because of the war, they will find a way, even if it’s dangerous like taking a small boat and entering in the Aegean sea. But [for them] it is always safer than staying in their countries .” Georgios Polymerou

Once they reach Greece, they are usually caught by the police and put in detention centers for a period from one to twelve months. In this centers,  children are detained with adults, which is also prohibited by the Child Rights Convention. After this detention, they are driven by the Greek authorities to reception centers for minors like the one near Thessaloniki where we shot this video.

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