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MIGRANT CHILDREN: On the crossroad between the unknown and the


In the wave of migrants, daily waiting to enter or transit through our country, there are
already many children. They are tired and hungry, scared and unsure where and how to spend
each passing night!?
This situation, according the First Children's Embassy in the World Megjashi, should not be
synonymous for our country, and the children should not be equated with the adults, neither
the treatment nor the needs. Megjashi emphasized that the system for protecting the rights of
the child failed, and proof of this is inhumane and inhuman terms of care of the migrant
children in the reception center of Gazi-Baba.
"The migrant children have to be provided alternative models of care. The recommendations
of the international bodies for protection of children demand the stay of the children in
reception centers to be with conditions standard for special care for children and women. One
of the problems is that we in some way equalize the children with the adults according to the
needs and treatment. It would be good to have as detailed as possible record of children who
pass through Macedonia, especially unaccompanied to prevent possible abuses of children
and ultimately be followed through the countries through which they pass in order to have
trace until their final residence, merging with families or in foster families or homes, "says
Dragi Zmijanac - Director and Founder of the First Children's Embassy MEGJASHI"

In the reception centers, added Zmijanac, besides improving the basic living conditions, they
should be provided additional activities for the children, educational and entertainment that
would help them easier to survive every day and the situation in which they are located.
"These activities should be performed in certain adequate internal spaces, but more
importantly is to design and carry out activities. Children have the right to play and be
children no matter how difficult the situation they are. Also if professionals work or entertain
the children in that way it would be easier for their parents. There should be an integration of
migrant children in Macedonia on any ground with the local children, for example the
refugee children, under the guardianship of an adult, to play in the local children's
playgrounds together with the local children"- added the Director of the First Children's
The terrifying photos and videos that were shown to the public about the conditions in the
reception center in Gazi Baba, that housed the children, alerted the public. There is an
absence of humane conditions for accommodation of children, hence the need for an urgent
solution to this problem that was detected by the Ombudsman, Megjashi said.
"The accommodation according to the standards of care for migrants and refugees in the
reception centers has to be provided immediately. The migrants even sleep on the floor.
Mattresses and beds have to be provided so that children would not sleep on the ground. The
state should provide medical, psychological and legal assistance to the migrant children "Zmijanac emphasized.
He explained that the Convention on the Rights of the Child guarantees special protection and
requires treatment with the child in a way that will ensure its best interests. In all actions
concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, the
courts, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the main concern should represent the
best interests of the child.
"Achieving the best interests of the child is a principle that we claim to mobilize the state
institutions that are responsible under this Convention for the Rights of the Child that torture
or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of children is contrary to the respect of the
basic rights of the child. CRC recognizes the fact that every child under 18 years of age needs
special care and protection. Article 2 of the CRC requires each country to guarantee the rights
of the Convention for each child without discrimination on any grounds. We call on this
article that requires the state to take care of the needs of migrant children and to take care of
the children and particularly to ensuring a proper psycho therapy care for children who have
suffered emotional or physical trauma, as well as adequate custody protection by families as
an alternative way of taking care of migrant children, "-said Dragi Zmijanac of the First
Childrens Embassy in the World Megjashi.
Hence, according to him, there is a need for expanding the reception centers for migrant
children and their standardization according to the international rules of reception centers. It
is necessary, he said, taking a more active part of the obligations by the international
organizations to help and support the refugees and migrants, as well as emergency funds that

the international community would provide for immediate action to assist migrants conducted
to the state institutions, international organizations and civil organizations in our country.
A key role of the state, according to the director of Megjashi, is to provide an efficient system
of transiting migrants in Macedonia, especially migrant children, to ensure their movement
and transit through the territory of the Republic of Macedonia within the legally prescribed
72 hours, providing public transport for transit and to facilitate the right and the approach for
seeking asylum, that is a right which is guaranteed by the international standards. Not only
Macedonia but also, as Zmijanac said, the other countries involved in the migratory wave,
should agree how jointly to overcome this newly occurred situation, in order to help migrants
who not by their fault have found themselves at the crossroad between the unknown and the
uncertain fate.