Members of Sweden’s Royal Family have expressed concern over the plight of refugee children. Queen Silvia called for better protection for child refugees as she attended an event in Germany focused on issues surrounding young people who have been forced to leave their homes. And her daughter-in-law, Princess Sofia, made helping refugee children the focus of her first major speech since her marriage as she attended an event in South Africa.
Queen Silvia’s comments came as she addressed the World Childhood Foundation seminar in Wurzburg in Bavaria where she told delegates that ‘right now is a good time for all of us to begin offering young refugees safe places’.
Queen Silvia’s speech came as politicians across Europe debate issues linked to providing help for refugees. The Swedish queen set up the World Childhood Foundation in 1999 and this seminar was originally planned as a debate on issues including protecting refugee children from sexual violence and how to make schools safe places for children.
The World Childhood Foundation currently supports projects helping young people in 17 countries. Queen Silvia has been supported in her work by her two daughters with her youngest child, Princess Madeleine, working with the organization when she lived in New York.
Just days before this seminar, the Swedish queen had spoken about the ongoing crisis when she was asked whether she had seen the image of three year old Aylan Kurdi who drowned while fleeing his home in Syria. The queen was deeply moved by the image telling reporters ‘I have followed the situation and read about it in the papers but suddenly you see the picture…and it goes straight to the heart.’
Meanwhile, Princess Sofia addressed the issues facing refugee children when she spoke to the Global Child Forum meeting taking place in South Africa. On her first solo overseas engagement since her marriage to Prince Carl Philip in June this year, Sofia said ”I think that everybody can contribute in their own way and do something” and added ”the main thing is that we do something.”
The Global Child Forum was set up by Queen Silvia and her husband, King Carl XVI Gustaf, in 2009 with the aim of ensuring that children’s rights are respected by everyone in society. And as the refugee crisis continues to affect Europe. Sweden’s royals are adding their voice to the debate surrounding it.
Photo credit: Stefan Baudy via Flickr