19 February 2015
UNHCR has welcomed the Commission’s proposal amending the Dublin regulation regarding the Member State responsible for examining the asylum application of unaccompanied children with no family members residing legally in EU. According to the proposal, the Member State responsible for examining the asylum application, is the one where the unaccompanied child is currently present, even if they haven’t applied for asylum there, as long as this is in their best interest. This is in line with the C-648/11 MA & Others judgment of the Court of Justice of the EU.
According to UNHCR, the Commission’s proposal ensures prompt access to international protection for unaccompanied children and gives primary consideration to the best interest of the child at each stage of the asylum procedure. UNHCR underlines that in the case of a decision to send back children to another Member State they may not be properly accommodated, may be unable to access protection in the receiving country and might be detained with adults due to disputes in assessing their age between Member States concerned.
UNHCR welcomes the fact that the Commission’s proposal goes beyond the scope of the judgment by accepting that the child might refuse to introduce an asylum application in the country where he or she is currently present. Therefore, unless this is not in his best interest, the Member State responsible for the examination is the one which received the most recent request.
UNHCR recommends that the unaccompanied child should be interviewed by experts in child protection in order to take into account all the relevant factors, such as the child’s well-being and social development; safety and security considerations, especially where there is a risks of human trafficking; and the views of the child, in accordance with their age and maturity.
For further information:
- UNHCR, Protecting the best interests of the child in Dublin Procedures February 2015
- UNICEF, Children’s rights in return policy and practice in Europe, February 2015
- ECRE Weekly Bulletin, Dublin III regulation: Save the Children advocates for the best interest of unaccompanied children, 13 February 2015
- ECRE Weekly Bulletin, Dublin Regulation: NGOs call for the rights of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children to be respected, 30 January 2015
- European Parliament, Draft report 2014/0202(COD) on the proposal for a regulation amending Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 as regards determining the Member State responsible for examining the application for international protection of unaccompanied minors with no family member, sibling or relative legally present in a Member State, 6 January 2015
- Council of the European Union, Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 as regards determining the Member State responsible for examining the application for international protection of unaccompanied minors with no family member, sibling or relative legally present in a Member State, 20 November 2014