UNHCR – the UN refugee Agency, is saddened by the news of the tragic death of an 8-year-old Malta-born child whose family found protection in Malta after fleeing Nigeria.
UNHCR urges mainstream services to provide sustainable, systematic and well-resourced support to vulnerable refugee families, particularly those living in open centres and in other affiliated accommodations, without distinction to nationality or status.
In particular, there needs to be a holistic approach and collaboration between government agencies supporting refugee children. The lack of such collaboration has grave repercussions on the child’s safety, especially since refugee children are generally living in vulnerable situations. It is in the best interest of the child to have the required safety structures provided by the State right from their arrival in Malta.
UNHCR notes that an inquiry has been set up to investigate the tragic death of the child and stands ready to provide assistance to the inquiry. UNHCR hopes that the inquiry will lead to identifying gaps in the system that will need to be addressed in order to prevent similar tragedies in the future.