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World Refugee Day: We help unaccompanied children and young people in Luxembourg

20 June 2023

20 June is World Refugee Day. It is the day that reminds us that so many people are currently forced to leave their homes due to war, conflict, persecution or extreme natural events. Currently, about 110 million people are on the run. This is the largest number of displaced people ever. Among them are also millions of children and young people, countless of them unaccompanied, i.e. travelling alone – without their parents or other adults.

On the occasion of World Refugee Day, the Luxembourg Red Cross would like to draw attention to the issue of these unaccompanied children and young people in Luxembourg (unaccompanied children). “We accompany children and young people who come to the Grand Duchy by taking their needs into account first and foremost and not their status as recipients of assistance or applicants for international protection,” explains Mireille Neuen, Head of the “Aide à l’Enfance et à la Famille” (AEF) department. In all cases, the best interests of the child come first. Thus, all minors are cared for by professionals from the AEF department.

Every unaccompanied child and adolescent who arrives in this country is received and cared for at the Primo-Accueil Lilly Unden in Luxembourg-Limpertsberg. Then, depending on the age and availability, the child is oriented to a specialised residential group of the Red Cross (Villa Nia Domo in Strassen, Am Bongert in Bertrange or Jacoby in Differdange). Three such residential groups are operated by the Red Cross and belong to to the “Centre d’Accueil Nobert Ensch” (CANE). In recent months, an average of 60-65 unaccompanied minors are cared for at CANE, half in the Lilly Unden structure, the other half in the respective residential groups.

“The children and young people often have an exhausting journey behind them, during which they have been through a lot. In a first phase, their personal situation has to stabilise so that we can later develop a life project with them,” explains Tom Biever, CANE director. The aim is to offer the young people an environment in which they can grow up safely as well as to accompany the minors in becoming more autonomous step by step.

Currently, the Red Cross is working harder to create more places in the specialised residential groups for unaccompanied minors. In addition, family work and contact with the parents of the children and adolescents are to be expanded (via video conference).

More information:
Centre d’Accueil Norbert Ensch – Luxembourg Red Cross, Mënschen hëllefen (croix-rouge.lu)