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Rights Groups Urge Berlin to Improve Plight of Refugee Children

Human rights organizations and child protection groups on Monday urged the German government to strengthen the rights of refugee children on the occasion of the 12th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. They underlined that thousands of children traveling alone from crisis regions around the world apply for asylum in Germany every year. While most of them are between the ages of 15 and 18, even younger children -- left on their own -- seek protection in Germany. Heiko Kaufmann of the organization Pro Aysl pointed out that there were several cases of young children who had been imprisoned, abused and tortured in their home countries after being deported from Germany. Kaufmann also stressed that Germany didn't recognize the recruitment of children as child soldiers in their home countries as a reason for granting asylum. The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child has been ratified by 192 countries so far.