Support to Greece for unaccompanied minors

Many refugees arrive in Europe via Greece. A high proportion of these refugees are unaccompanied minors. The Netherlands is making €3 to €4 million available to help Greece accommodate and support them.

Shelters for unaccompanied minors

The Netherlands is supporting Greece in a number of ways. These include constructing 3 shelters on the Greek mainland and helping the country strengthen its guardian programme for unaccompanied minors. Children living in the shelters receive individual supervision and care, as well as access to education.

This support aligns with the Netherlands’ commitment to making long-term improvements to reception facilities in Greece, accelerating asylum procedures and improving the rate of return.

Video: support for unaccompanied minors in Greece

In 2015 and 2016, huge numbers of refugees and migrants including many unaccompanied minors arrived in Greece, primarily on the Greek islands. 

According to the data of the National Center for Social Solidarity there are, in August 2021 almost 3000 registered unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece.

Of these almost 700 lone refugee minors are excluded from institutional child protection services without access to basic care, social welfare, or any information about their rights.

Although the number of people arriving in Greece by irregular means has fallen significantly on an annual basis providing holistic reception facilities and ensuring effective asylum and return procedures remains a challenge for the Greek government.

Since 2015, the Netherlands has therefore been helping Greece to make structural improvements to the reception process. 

Together with Greece, the Netherlands has launched a three-year programme to improve the reception and guardianship of unaccompanied minors in Greece.

The Ministry of Justice and Security has set aside 3-4 million euros for this purpose.

In an effort to provide more safe and enabling environments for vulnerable unaccompanied minor refugees Dutch NGO Movement On The Ground, and its Greek partner NGO The HOME Project, opened three new homes in Athens.

One home has been set up for unaccompanied minor girls and minor mothers aged 13 to 18 years old with their babies. The other two homes have been set up to accommodate teenage boys also aged 13 to 18 years old.

The two organizations jointly provide a holistic set of child protection services covering food, medical assistance, as well as social, legal and psychological support access to sports, education and training ensuring children’s well-being and development.

Each child receives legal support regarding asylum procedures in Greece or relocation to another EU country or reunion with family members located in other member states.