On Tuesday 14 June, the multi-award-winning documentary Shadow Game – about teenage refugee travelers traveling alone – will be screened in the European Parliament. The young people from Shadow Game share their experiences and offer the petition “Protect children on the move”. They draw attention to the rights of ALL refugee children traveling alone.

This meeting is organized by a broad coalition of MEPs from different political groups: Cornelia Ernst, The Left; Birgit Sippel, S&D; Tineke Strik, Greens/EFA and Jan-Christoph Oetjen, Renew Europe.

When: Tuesday 14 June, 5.30-9pm
Where: European Parliament, Brussels, room PHS 1A2

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on April 7 calling for the protection of Ukrainian refugee children. Refugee Ukrainian children and young people must be properly cared for. This is necessary to prevent exploitation, abuse and illegal adoption. They must also be given safe passage from Ukraine to the EU. The children from the documentary Shadow Game received a very different reception. They walked thousands of kilometers on their own from countries such as Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. Once in Europe, they had to walk through minefields, were beaten up by violent border guards and illegally pushed back across the border.

“I am happy for Ukrainian children that they are being helped. Because I know how bad war and flight is,” says Mohammed, one of the boys in Shadow Game. He was 14 when he fled to Europe without his parents. “Unfortunately, I received no help, and I was stopped at the borders in Europe.”

The stories of these children are not unique and symbolize the violent and repressive European migration policy. Every day the pushbacks continue and they become more and more violent. Currently, there are still 22,500 children stranded at Europe’s borders. (Source: Unicef) While, according to some media, Ukrainian refugee minors are welcomed as ‘heroes’ and are rightly helped and protected.

Petition Protect children on the Move
The teenagers from Shadow Game have drafted the manifesto “Protect children on the move”, in which they call on the European Parliament and the European Commission to help their peers who are still stuck at our borders. Together with the Shadow Game team and KidsRights of former children’s ombudsman Marc Dullaert, they are campaigning to put the rights of refugee children in Europe on the political agenda. The manifesto has already been signed by nearly 35,000 European citizens.

Marc Dullaert, Chairman of the Board of KidsRights and former chairman of the European Ombudsman for Children: “It is fantastic that Europe wants to protect children as we agree in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Why don’t these protection measures apply to all refugee children and minors entering the EU? The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child does not discriminate in this regard, does the EU?”

Directors Eefje Blankevoort and Els van Driel: “During the making of Shadow Game, we saw countless violations of children’s rights. It is a deliberate policy of Europe to oppose children on the move. The children we have followed have arrived traumatized as a result. We now see that a different, humane policy is possible. It is only fair that we apply that policy to all children who are fleeing. That is in line with the values we say we stand for.”

Teens on the run
In the documentary Shadow Game, we follow teenagers on a hellish journey through Europe. The film won the Golden Calf for Best Long Documentary, the Prix Europa for best European Documentary, the Geneva Award and the Dutch Movies Matter Award. The film was broadcast by KRO-NCRV and can be viewed online at Vimeo on Demand.

The petition can be signed here.
For more information about the entire Shadow Game project click here.

The Road to The EU Parliament
On June 14, the Shadow Game team will travel the last kilometres to the European Parliament together with the boys from the film and Marc Dullaert.