Skip to 0 minutes and 1 second We know that the first experience for young people, and especially children, when travelling abroad is very important in defining their personality and defining the way how they act and how they will be living. You have to understand how they think and how they feel. And everything, small things, mean a lot to them. For example, they won’t tell you that they are hungry, but if you just show compassion and just be like, “This is a chocolate for you,” this means a lot. They will never forget the person who gave them this piece of chocolate.
Skip to 0 minutes and 39 seconds So children and young people need to be treated well at border crossings, and very well, actually, because the early ages of a child and young people is what determines what they will be, what they will become, and what they will want to do. And any experience will influence them and their decisions in the future. I have had this experience. So I know what this is really about. It is very important that these children and young people are very well cared for because they are human beings. And they have the right to be mobile, to move, like any other individual.
Why it is important to treat children well at border crossings
In this video we hear Wannes, Nael, Mariane and Idrissa answering the question: Why is it important to treat children well at border crossings?
As we noted in previous course steps, children may have encountered difficult and disturbing experiences on their journey. They may be fearful and distrustful of adults and extremely concerned what will happen to them next.
Reports unfortunately show how children have been treated extremely badly while crossing borders. For example, a 2017 Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) report explains how 92% of children and teenagers attending MSF mental health clinics in Serbia reported the experience of physical violence by police and border officials in three particular EU Member States.
It is extremely important that everyone who comes into contact with unaccompanied and separated children treats them with the utmost care, dignity and respect.