UNICEF Statement on new guardianship law in Greece

Attributable to UNICEF Deputy Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, Mr. Philippe Cori

07 August 2018
Refugee and migrant children attend a Greek language course at a shelter for unaccompanied children in Athens.
Refugee and migrant children attend a Greek language course at a shelter for unaccompanied children in Athens.

ATHENS, Greece, 7 August 2018 – “UNICEF welcomes Greece’s new law on guardianship that is set to increase protection for stateless, unaccompanied and children separated from their families while strengthening national child protection systems.

“There are more than 3,400 unaccompanied and separated refugee and migrant children in Greece with more than 2,100 of them waiting for shelter and accommodation. These children are particularly vulnerable to violence, exploitation and abuse.

“The new legislation is a critical milestone, that will help protect the rights of unaccompanied children. This will be done by increasing the number of guardians providing individualized support to unaccompanied children, facilitating their access to legal protection and basic social services as well as ensuring the assessment and determination of unaccompanied children’s best interest.

“The new legislation also references Supported Independent Living for unaccompanied refugee and migrant children – a community-based model of accommodation and care that UNICEF is currently using in Athens - in collaboration with local NGO, METAdrasi - and hopes to expand across the country.

“UNICEF remains committed to strengthening our work with the National Centre for Social Solidarity (EKKA), and other Government authorities, to support the new guardianship system, including working with the newly established Directorate for the Protection of Unaccompanied Minors.”

Media Contacts

Melanie Sharpe
Communication Specialist
UNICEF Europe and Central Asia Regional office
Tel: + 41 (0) 79 834 74 01
Olga Siokou –Siova
UNICEF Refugee and Migrant Response in Greece
Tel: +30 211 2340 297


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/eca.