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Response to the IDC report on Syria

5th January 2016

Save the Children's Response to International Development Committee report on Syria.

Justin Forsyth, Save the Children’s CEO, said: “We estimate that at least 26,000 unaccompanied children entered Europe last year – children who have risked everything to flee war, persecution and extreme poverty alone. They come from Afghanistan, Syria, Eritrea, Somalia and Iraq, among other places, seeking sanctuary.

“These children need and deserve our help and protection. Left to fend for themselves, lone children are extremely vulnerable along the refugee route. Children report having been beaten, extorted and sexually abused on their journey. Save the Children helps by providing food, warm clothes and psychological care across Europe and the Middle East, but nothing can replace a safe and secure home.

“That is why we welcome the International Development Committee’s urgent call for the Government to accept our proposal and take in up to 3,000 children who have come to Europe without their parents or guardians. Britain has a proud history of helping child refugees and we can play our part now in protecting those affected by the worst humanitarian crisis since World War Two.”

See here for photos, film and case studies from Save the Children’s work on the refugee route with families and unaccompanied children

For interviews or further information, please contact the Save the Children media team on 0207 012 6841 / 07785527663

Notes to editors

· The 26,000 figure is a conservative estimate based on the number of unaccompanied children who had been registered travelling through Greece and Italy by end of August 2015 (19,000). The number of new arrivals of refugees and migrants to Europe increased in September and October so we can expect the number of unaccompanied minors to have increased concurrently.

· Our estimate for the UK’s ‘fair share’ of these vulnerable children (known technically as ‘unaccompanied minors’) is based on the recorded numbers of such children arriving in Italy and Greece and the European Commission’s proposed methodology for calculating the UK’s ‘fair share’, taking into consideration GDP, population, existing numbers of refugees and asylum seekers and unemployment rates – this figure is 11.5%.