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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid