Ahead of the Group of Seven summit in Italy, the United Nations children’s agency has urged the leaders of G7 industrialized countries to adopt its six-point action plan for the protection of refugee and migrant children.
At least 36,000 of the refugees and migrants rescued since January have been taken to Sicily, the site of this year’s summit, and the Italian G7 presidency has made migration a priority for this year’s talks.
“Sicily stands as a symbol of hope for uprooted children seeking a better life, but it is also the endpoint of an extremely dangerous journey that has claimed the lives of many children along the way,” said Justin Forsyth, Deputy Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
UNICEF’s call comes at a time when the dangerous Central Mediterranean migration journey from North Africa to Italy draws renewed attention.
At least 200 children have died while crossing the Central Mediterranean from North Africa to Italy so far this year, a rate of more than one child per day, according to the latest estimates from UNICEF.