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Refugee and Migrant Children in Europe: Accompanied, Unaccompanied and Separated: Overview of Trends (January - December 2019)

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Arrivals to Europe between January and December 2019

Between January and December 2019, some 33,200 children arrived in Greece, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Malta. Of them some 9,000 (27%) were unaccompanied or separated children (UASC). Also, child arrivals in 2019 in Greece, Spain, Italy and Bulgaria increased by 7% compared to arrivals registered in 2018 (30,085).

Greece

Between January and December 2019, some 25,443 children arrived in Greece by land and sea, including 3,852 (15%) UASC. Due to the high number of people arriving in 2019, the number of children also increased – nearly 50% higher compared to children arriving in 2018 (17,100). The number of children arriving unaccompanied or separated also increased – 63% higher compared to 2018 (2,369). Most children, including UASC, were from Afghanistan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Spain

Between January and December 2019, some 3,775 children were estimated to have arrived by sea, including some 2,147 (57%) UASC.This is half the number compared to 2018, when a total of 7,800 children arrived to Spain. Official statistics on the nationality of children arriving were not available, but based on estimates and observed trends, most children, including UASC, originated from Morocco, the Syrian Arab Republic, Algeria and Côte d’Ivoire.

Italy

Among the 2,232 children who arrived in Italy between January and December 2019, 1,680 (75%) were unaccompanied or separated. This is a 48% decrease compared to 2018 (4,278) – in line with the sharp decrease in sea crossings since July 2017. Most children originated from Tunisia, Côte d'Ivoire, Pakistan, Iraq and Bangladesh.

Malta

Between January and December 2019, some 8687 children, including 768 (88%) UASC arrived in Malta following search and rescue operations at sea. Most children, including UASC, originated from Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea.

Bulgaria

Between January and December 2019, 731 children lodged asylum applications in Bulgaria. Among them, 72% (524) were UASC.
Most asylum-seeking children originated from Afghanistan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq.

Cyprus

Between January and December 2019, some 160 children, including 74 UASC arrived by sea in Cyprus. Most of the children, including UASC, originated from the Syrian Arab Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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