The Asylum-seeking Child in Europe

2005Hans E Andersson, Henry Ascher, Ulla Björnberg, Marita Eastmond and Lotta Mellander

Children constitute an important part of asylum seekers whether they arrive With their families or alone. In 2003, there were more than 17 million refugees (43 per cent of refugees), asylum seekers and others who are of concern to the UNHCR. Of these millions of people, it is estimated that children under the age of five make up 11 per cent and 32 per cent are children aged six to seventeen. Many of these children have experienced war, violence, acts of cruelty and similar traumas. Others have been exposed indirectly through their parents traumatizing experiences. Such experiences are today increasingly recognized as being a similar burden to a child as if they are assaulted themselves. The adults often have very big problems and the children run the risk of having their problems concealed. Registration data and statistics are generally not produced in a way that makes the exposed situation of children visible. The childrens reasons for asylum in their own right are rarely investigated.

Key wordsasylum seekers / children / forced migration / post-traumatic stress disorder / poverty

CountriesAlbania / Denmark / Europe / Kosovo / Sweden