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Refugee and Migrant Children in Europe: Accompanied, Unaccompanied and Separated: Overview of Trends (January - December 2020)

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Arrivals in Europe between January and December 2020

In 2020, 16,750 children arrived in Greece, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Malta. Of these, 10,343 (62%) were unaccompanied or separated children (UASC). Child arrivals decreased by 50% in 2020 compared to 2019 (33,200).

Greece

Some 4,602 children arrived by land and sea in 2020, 82% fewer than the previous year (25,443) in line with a broader decline in overall arrivals compared to 2019. Of these, 895 were UASC (19%), 77% less than in 2019 (3,852). Most of the children, including UASC, were from Afghanistan, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia and Iraq.

Bulgaria

Some 1,125 children lodged asylum applications in 2020, 70% of whom were UASC (798). Most of these asylum-seeking children originated from Afghanistan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq.

Spain

In 2020, some 3,890 children were estimated to have arrived by sea, only a 3% increase compared to 2019 (3,775). Of these, 3,340 were UASC (86%), 56% more than in 2019 (2,147). According to estimates, most of the children, including UASC, originated from Morocco, Mali, Algeria and Senegal.

Malta

In 2020, some 610 children, including 537 (88%) UASC, arrived following search and rescue operations at sea. Child arrivals, including UASC, in 2020 were 30% lower compared to 2019 (868). Most of the children, including UASC, originated from Sudan, Somalia and Bangladesh.

Italy

Nearly three times more children arrived in 2020 (6,252) than in 2019 (2,232). Of these, 75% (4,687) were UASC, a proportion consistent with recent years. Most of the children, including UASC, originated from Tunisia, Bangladesh, Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea.

Cyprus

Some 271 children arrived by sea in 2020, including 86 UASC. Most of the children, including UASC, originated from the Syrian Arab Republic and Somalia.

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