30 May 2014

PICUM, ECRE, the children’s ombudspersons of Europe, the United Nations on the Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and UNICEF have signed, together with several other organisations promoting and safeguarding children’s rights, a joint open letter urging the EU Member States to make children’s rights a priority in future common migration and asylum policies in view of the June European Council where strategic guidelines on future EU Home Affairs policies will be adopted.

According to the organisations, despite the clear legal framework obliging the European Union and its Member States to guarantee rights to all children under their jurisdiction, many migrant children in vulnerable situations have experienced severe and systematic violations of their rights in the EU. They face limited access to justice and essential services, including education and health care, and are subjected to apprehension, administrative detention and deportation, as well as collective expulsions, push-backs and border control practices that endanger their lives when trying to enter EU territory due to their migration status or that of their parents.

The organisations call on the EU institutions and the Member States to reaffirm their commitments to uphold the rights of every child in the context of migration and in accordance with the relevant international and EU legislation. The signatories underline the  need to end discrimination in access to services, protection and justice on the basis of the migration and residence status of the children as well as to put an end to the immigration detention of children. The letter also calls for the development of a Home Affairs Child Rights Action Plan with the objective of improving the implementation of existing legal safeguards and in particular the principle of the best interests of the child.

This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 30 May 2014.
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