Greek authorities on Lesvos have failed to protect unaccompanied children from abuse by placing them in refugee camps with unrelated adults, says Human Rights Watch (HRW).
By misidentifying the children and classifying them as adults, Greek authorities have left the children vulnerable to abuse, sexual exploitation and human trafficking, and unable to access the specific services they require, HRW said in the report published on Thursday.
Unaccompanied children often live in formal and impromptu camps where they endure poor sanitary conditions, a lack of basic resources, crowding and cannot attend school, the report added.
“The misidentification of unaccompanied migrant kids on Lesvos as adults leads to real problems, including lumping them together with unrelated adults and denying them the care they need,” Eva Cosse, Greece researcher at HRW, said in the report.
“Greek authorities need to take responsibility for properly identifying unaccompanied children and providing them the protection and care every child needs.”
While some children falsely claim to be adults because they fear being detained, Greek authorities arbitrarily register many children as adults, the report claimed.
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