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European Union to allocate €800,000 to help children of migrants

The European Union and UNICEF launch a new programme to protect children affected by migration in Kyrgyzstan. The Office of the Delegation of the European Union to the Kyrgyz Republic reported.

According to UNICEF data, over 11 percent of children in Kyrgyzstan — about 259,000 — are left behind, with one or both parents living abroad. The absence of parents can lead to a range of psychological and social difficulties and forces children to do heavy work, which deprives them of free time and contributes to absenteeism in school. Many children of internal migrants live in hazardous houses in the outskirts in Bishkek with limited access to health care, education and social benefits.

The European Union allocates €800,000 to support the project, which will last 42 months.

«We know how migration affects the children who often have to grow without parents because of migration. It indeed affects their education, development and future. Therefore, we unify our efforts with UNICEF in order to mitigate negative impact of migration on children and ensure better protection of their rights,» Head of Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation to the Kyrgyz Republic Charlotte Adriaen said.

The special programme was launched to change the situation. The contribution from the European Union and UNICEF to Kyrgyzstan will help to strengthen national child protection systems by training professionals and government authorities to identify, refer and assist vulnerable children affected by migration and to apply child-friendly procedures at border points. This will allow to ensure that children and families have access to social assistance, legal aid, psychosocial support, counselling, birth registration and parenting support.

«Adequate systems for kinship and guardianship will reduce the likelihood of children left behind by migrant parents to be exposed to violence. UNICEF will also help address issues related to child statelessness as well as establish and strengthen systems on information sharing on family tracing and reunification across borders,» explained Lucio Valerio Sarandrea, Chief of Child Protection at UNICEF Kyrgyzstan.

The new programme will also allow to gather data and evidence to better understand the number of children affected by migration across Asia and the specific needs of these children and their families as well as the challenges they face.