Press release

UK to help protect Syrian children fleeing to Iraq

£2 million in new support from the UK will help Syrian refugees, including children, who have been forced to flee to Iraq to escape fighting

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Justine Greening with refugee children
Justine Greening meets children who have fled fighting in Syria. Picture: British Embassy Jordan

Britain will give vulnerable Syrian children fleeing to Iraq the protection they need, International Development Secretary Justine Greening announced today.

There are around 200,000 Syrian refugees now in Iraq to escape the ongoing violence, the majority in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, with more arriving every day. This follows the sudden opening of the Iraq/Syria border in August, with 44,000 Syrian refugees entering Iraq in a matter of days.

The UK will provide UNICEF with £2 million for water, sanitation and child protection services for Syrian refugees in Iraq, including in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. There is a particular focus on children who arrive in the country without accompanying adults or who are otherwise vulnerable.

Justine Greening said:

Children’s lives are being turned upside down by this conflict. That is bad enough, but some of them even have to go through this on their own. They have been exposed to the unimaginable horrors of conflict and now face the terrifying experience of leaving behind home, friends and family and the life they know.

The UK will help to ensure that children fleeing to Iraq will get the help they need when they are scared, possibly separated from their parents and at their most vulnerable. We must not let these children down.

The new funding will support UNICEF’s work at the border reception centre and in five new camps in Iraq. It will enable UNICEF to:

  • identify unaccompanied children, children who have been abused, and children with special needs and ensure that they receive proper care and protection, including counselling and safe spaces;
  • set up child-friendly spaces in camps and train child protection staff; and
  • provide 20-30 litres of water per person per day and sanitation facilities for refugees at the border reception centre.

For full details of the UK’s humanitarian response to the Syria crisis, please visit: Syria Crisis: Latest updates on UK aid

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Published 23 October 2013