News / Middle East

UNICEF: Syrian Child Refugees Face Exploitation

Syrian refugee children gather around fire near makeshift tents, central Ankara, Oct. 5, 2013.
Syrian refugee children gather around fire near makeshift tents, central Ankara, Oct. 5, 2013.
Reuters
Child refugees who have fled Syria's civil war are vulnerable to exploitation including early marriage, domestic violence and child labor, despite efforts to keep them in school, the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on Thursday.
 
More than one million children, some without parents or close relatives, are among 2.1 million refugees who have crossed mainly into Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey since March 2011, the agency says.
 
Jordan hosts 540,000 Syrian refugees, straining health and education services and already scarce water resources, said Michele Servadei, UNICEF's deputy representative in Jordan.
 
Most Syrians live in host communities in the north, while 120,000 are at the teeming Zaatari camp in the Jordanian desert.
 
"In host communities they are much more exposed to child labor, to early marriage, to exploitation in general," Servadei told a news briefing in Geneva.
 
Some 200,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan are school-age, but only 80,000 are enrolled in education, often in classrooms with double shifts. Adolescents aged 14 to 17, many of whom had dropped out of school, were especially at risk, he said.
 
"The main coping mechanism that these children have in many cases is withdrawal...We noticed that actually many children don't go out of the house," he said.
 
"But the problem is that the house is not the safest place always. There is a high level of domestic violence among communities, definitely because of the war situation, but also because of the protracted displacement and the sense of frustration that it brings."
 
Jordan lacks enough shelters for battered women, he added.
 
UNICEF operates 80 child-friendly spaces in Jordan, offering activities and psycho-social support to young Syrian refugees, some of whom suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
 
An estimated 30,000 Syrian child refugees are working in Jordan, Servadei said. A UNICEF assessment in the Jordan Valley in April identified 3,500 child laborers, mainly seasonal.
 
"They were working mainly on the farms, in many cases also hard labor, let's say 10 hours a day using pesticides," he said. Other children work in family bakeries or as mechanics.
 
UNICEF is providing cash assistance — 30 Jordanian dinars or about $45 per month — for families to remove a Syrian child from work and return him to school, according to Servadei.
 
"We monitor the attendance — when the attendance is no longer there, the cash assistance gets stopped," he said. "But we are checking if that is going to be enough because actually most of these children are earning much more working, unfortunately."
 
In 2012, 18 percent of the registered marriages of Syrians in Jordan involved under-18-year-olds, up from 12 percent a year before, he said. Imams have the authority to approve marriages for youths over 16, but these often go unregistered, he said.
 
Syrian rebels are also alleged to have infiltrated refugee camps in Jordan seeking to recruit young people to fight in their homeland, Servadei said, declining to give specifics.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid