Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

Number of unaccompanied minors doubled last year

Two hundred and fifteen unaccompanied minors arrived in Cyprus last year

The number of unaccompanied minors among asylum seekers registered in 2016 in Cyprus has more than doubled compared with 2015, unlike the rest of Europe, where on average the number has fallen.

According to Eurostat data, in 2015 some 105 children registered in Cyprus rising to 215 in 2016.

By contrast, the number fell by about a third in the rest of the EU.

In 2015 almost 96,500 minors registered while in 2016, it decreased to 63,300 applying for international protection. The 2016 figure is still about five times higher than the annual average during the period 2008 to 2013 (around 12,000 per year).

In 2016, a substantial majority of unaccompanied minors in the EU were male, 89 per cent. In Cyprus, the situation is atypical. Just 54 per cent of the asylum seekers were male last year.

A comparatively high number of asylum seekers are younger than 18 in Cyprus, 32 per cent. The EU average is much lower, 15.9 per cent.

However, the overwhelming majority of children registered in Cyprus are over 14 years old, only a tiny minority of one per cent is younger.

More than a third (38 per cent) of asylum applicants under 18 in the EU in 2016 were Afghans and about a fifth (19 per cent) Syrians. In Cyprus, 66 per cent or 135 minors came from Somalia and 50 (22 per cent) from Syria.

In 2016, the highest number was registered in Germany with almost 36,000 unaccompanied minors, or 57 per cent of all those registered in the EU member states, followed by Italy (6,000, or 10 per cent) and Austria (3,900, or 6 per cent).

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Source: Cyprus News Agency