Natisni vsebino

Ombudsman saddened by protest against plan for housing unaccompanied child refugees

23.02.2016 12:27
Category: work and news

Ljubljana/Kranj, 23 February - The office of the Human Rights Ombudsman lamented the lack of humanity as it commented on Tuesday on strong reactions to the government's plan to accommodate unaccompanied child refugees in a dormitory in Kranj. Complaints from parents caused the dormitory to reject the plan.

The ombudsman said in a press release that unaccompanied minors were one of the most vulnerable groups in Europe and that they were only children who did not know the whereabouts of their parents and other relatives.

The reaction comes after the head of the Kranj dormitory said that the government's plan had faced strong opposition from parents of students accommodated there, because of which the idea had been rejected.

A majority of parents were not willing to even discuss the issue, and no argument could ever convince them, said Judita Nahtigal, adding that some of them had even threatened with signing their children out of the dormitory.

Commenting on the reaction, the ombudsman labelled the reaction by parents as "a show of a lack of humanity, which is why we are calling on authorities to find suitable facilities in areas where such children would be accepted with compassion".

The government said it would examine alternative solutions for suitable accommodation for unaccompanied minor refugees. There are currently 12 refugees in Slovenia aged between 10 and 14 who have the status of unaccompanied minors, according to the Education Ministry.

The Human Rights Ombudsman urged the government to find a location which would enable these children to realise all the rights they are entitled to on the basis of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The issue also drew response from the local board of the ruling SMC party in Kranj, which said that refugees should be welcomed with solidarity. "In the case of accommodation of unaccompanied minors our solidarity must transform into compassion."

The local branch of the coalition Social Democrats (SD) joined the condemnation of the opposition to the plan, with its president Jani Černe saying that it was "inappropriate to reject child refugees on the basis of unjustified fears, while forgetting about human rights and dignity."

SOURCE: Slovenian Press Agency (STA)

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