29 May 2024

Unaccompanied and Unprotected

The report "Unaccompanied and Unprotected: Assessing Protection Gaps for Unaccompanied Foreign Children in Albania" is a comprehensive assessment that identifies the legal and practical challenges faced by unaccompanied and separated foreign children entering Albania, a highly vulnerable group often at risk of human trafficking and exploitation.The report, prepared under the programme ‘Transforming the National Response to Human Trafficking in and from Albania,’ highlights the urgency of addressing protection gaps and ensuring the safety, dignity, and well-being of these children. It provides a detailed analysis of the national and international legal frameworks and examines their compliance with the best interest principle outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.Key findings include the need for improved custody and care arrangements, enhanced identification and sustainable solutions for unaccompanied children, and better institutional coordination. Recommendations focus on aligning local laws with international standards, increasing institutional capacities, and strengthening protective measures.UNICEF Albania urges all stakeholders, including national authorities, civil society organizations, and the international community, to reflect on these recommendations and work collaboratively to bridge the gaps in child protection systems. Together, we can build a brighter and more secure future for all children, ensuring no child is left behind.
21 June 2023

Good practices for responding to emergency situations related to child protection and GB Violence

Prepared by Nisma për Ndryshim Shoqëror ARSIS In the frame of the program: Refugees, particularly children and women, have access to qualitative prevention and response services against abuse, violence and neglect. Implemented in partnership with UNICEF Albania with funding provided by USAID. This report aims to document good practices for responding to emergency situations related to child protection and gender-based violence in humanitarian responses. UNICEF Albania in partnership with Nisma ARSIS has been providing a set of interventions aiming Gender Based Violence response and child protection measures for all the Afghan nationals placed in Shengjin and in Kavaja. The program aims since May 2022: 1) communities made aware of the risks of violence, including GBV, incidents of violence against children, abuse, neglect of GBV, and harmful practices such as child marriage, and are timely identified, referred, and supported and 2) support the existing national child protection system, in order to identify, and support Afghan children/mothers with children at risk of violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation. It provides a detailed account of all the actions carried out and practices implemented that can be applied in similar emergency situations since the first group of Afghan nationals were placed in Albania (27 August 2021). The good practices report describes some of the main examples of services provided in Shengjin for Afghan nationals, developed and implemented based on the context and mainly from the experience and expertise of International Organizations in refugee camps administration, security and wellbeing. A psychosocial coordination group composed of NGO-s has been established and conducted regular weekly based meetings, aiming to bring together all the service providers at Durres and Lezha. Collaboration with other service providers has been established within and outside of the resort. Here is important to mention the collaboration established with the Lezha and Durres Directories of Social Services for finalizing the referral pathway for GBV cases and Child Protection Issues. A wide Gender-Based Violence and Child Protection Issues campaign has been carried out aiming to raise awareness in the community related to these sensitive issues, understand their approach as well as prepare the community for the new lives in Canada and USA. Considerable work and effort are done by Nisma ARSIS in partnership with service providers of psychosocial assistance in the accommodation unit like Vital Voice Global Partnership, International Rescue Committee, UNICEF Albania, on the first model of the most appropriate reporting mechanism for the cases of abuse violence and neglect and GBV prevention and support. Collaboration with other service providers has been established within and outside of the resort since the first weeks of Afghan refugees’ accommodation at Rafaelo Resort. Collaboration is established with the Lezha Directory of Social Services for drafting and finalizing the referral pathway for GBV cases and Child Protection Issues. A wide Gender-Based Violence and Child Protection Issues campaign has been implemented and is in the process, aiming to raise awareness in the community related to these sensitive issues, understand their approach, and share information on reporting pathways. One of the main important supporting mechanisms has been the engagement of the community mediators from Afghan nationals, actively involved in the support of their community members through translation, facilitating communication between the project staff and the Afghan community members, involvement in the safe spaces, working with children and introducing their cultural approaches. Child-Friendly Space, Mother and Baby Corner, and Women and Girls Friendly Space are safe spaces where children, girls, and women feel safe and comfortable, organization plays a significant role, both as an entry point for disclosure of GBV cases, and as a place of various services provision, or further referral when needed. As it is a space in which children, women, and girls developed ownership, as well as trust towards employees, they feel more comfortable in disclosing their experiences of violence and seeking help. All staff involved in GBV prevention and response understand the GBV principles - they are trained in recognizing such cases and responding according to their roles. These spaces have served and still are operational for informing and preventing GBV and child protection issues in the Afghan nationals’ community, through creative and innovative forms for approaching children, women, and girls in the community. *Implemented in partnership with UNICEF Albania with funding provided by USAID.