Syrian refugee children in Jordan at risk of abuse neglect and exploitation

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Thousands of Syrian refugee children living in Jordan are at risk of abuse, neglect and exploitation, according to the United Nations Children's Fund(UNICEF).

The agency says over 120,000 Syrian children in Jordan were not attending schools, while another 30,000 were engaged in child labour as a means of survival.

UNICEF says it is concerned over the fate of the Syrian girl child in Jordan, noting that the number of girls being pushed into early marriages by their families is on the increase.

UNICEF’S deputy representative in Jordan Michele Servadei, says the future of Syrian children in the country was at stake, adding that many suffer deep psychological scars as a result of the violence and exploitation they have experienced.

"Many of these children are at risk of child marriage. We did a recent assessment-they increased by 6 per cent between 2001 and 2012 which are registered marriages. The other concern that we have is the unregistered marriages. We do not know their extent but we know that they are a serious risk to the health of the minor that get married, in many cases they drop out of school, but at the same time it's a serious risk for the baby that will be born out of that couple. While 99 per cent of children is asked say they want to go to school, parents do not have the urgency to send their children to school. About 20 to 25 per cent of them were saying they are going back to Syria why should they send their children to school. Our point is even if it's for a few weeks, it gives a sense of normalcy to the child and it will make sure that the child is actually growing in appropriate care and will have a future."

Jordan is currently hosting close to 540,000 Syrian refugees.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.

Duration 1:46″

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