Unaccompanied children refugees become big social problem in Cyprus: commissioner

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-21 22:25:50|Editor: xuxin
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NICOSIA, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- The issue of unaccompanied underage immigrants is becoming a major social problem for Cyprus, the country's children's rights commissioner said on Thursday.

With more unaccompanied minors arriving in the eastern Mediterranean island, Commissioner Despo Michaelidou-Livaniou told state radio that the protection of these children's rights is complicated.

Age estimations are difficult without documents, she said, as medical examinations and personal interviews are highly unreliable and can lead to arbitrary results, which may result in future violations of children's rights.

"It is on such decisions that several rights for children depend, such as whether they will continue having state protection as minors and receive special allowances," the commissioner explained.

The commissioner was commenting on the arrival of 14 unaccompanied children among 120 immigrants who were picked up from a boat on Wednesday.

The immigrants told police they are from Syria and had paid 4,000 U.S. dollars each to traffickers to bring them to Cyprus via Turkey.

Cyprus is a frontline country for irregular immigration. Authorities have to deal with one of the highest concentrations of refugees among EU countries.