13 February 2015

Save the Children has warned that the best interest of the child must be a primary consideration when amending the Dublin III Regulation with regards to Member States responsible for examining asylum applications of those unaccompanied children with no family members residing legally in the EU.

According to Save the Children, the State responsible for examining the asylum application must be the one where the unaccompanied child is present, regardless of the place of his first application.

Save the Children welcomes the Commission’s proposal, amending the Dublin III Regulation in order to comply with the C-648/11 MA & Others judgment of the Court of Justice of the EU.

Save the Children affirms that the principle of the best interest of the child is interpreted in a different way across EU Member States. In order to ensure more coherence, it is recommended to include the provision defining ‘the best interest of the child’ in an article of the Regulation rather than in the recitals. The wording should be consistent with EU legislation, according to which family reunification possibilities, safety and security considerations, and the child’s background as well as his age, should all be taken into account. Furthermore, Save the Children encourages the Member State to align their conduct with the joint guidance provided by UNHCR and UNICEF and the general comment of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

Save the Children is concerned about the Council’s position, which would allow children being sent back to another Member State that has already taken a decision at first instance regarding the substance of the application. According to Save the Children, while respecting the Court’s judgment, this position does not serve the best interest of the child and the particular vulnerability of unaccompanied children.

Save the Children recommends that information on the right to seek asylum should be provided by social workers in a climate of trust, duly taking into account the age, the educational background and the basic needs of the child.


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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 13 February 2015. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.