UN recommends investing more in child protection agencies and ending immigration detention

Children and families should never be in immigration detention said UN Human Rights experts for the International Migrants’ Day.

On the occasion of International Migrants’ Day on 18 December, the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights made a categorical statement against detention of children and families. 

Eurochild welcomes the recommendation that “unaccompanied migrant children [should] be the main responsibility of child protection agencies and not of migration authorities ¬and they should be placed in the national alternative care system, preferably in family-type care rather than in institutional care. 

Additionally, the UN human rights expert group encourages “substantial investments” in child protection agencies. They further explain: “Unaccompanied migrant children should quickly be appointed a competent and appropriately trained legal guardian tasked with protecting their best interests in loco parentis, including through the appointment of a lawyer to represent them in the various proceedings that they may face.

Through its ‘Opening Doors for Europe’s Children’ campaign, Eurochild is working to ensure EU funds are used to support family and community-based care alternatives, for all children, including migrant and refugee children. 

The Opening Doors campaign partners and civil society organisations call upon all States to ban the use of institutional care as a means to meeting the basic needs of migrant, unaccompanied and separated children

The types and quality of care should be the same for all children regardless of their migration status. Furthermore, States should end the practice of immigration detention of children as it discriminates and criminalises children on the basis of their migration status.

Read the full statement of the OHCHR here

Read more about Opening Doors for Europe’s Children here

Read ‘Turning the tide for Children on the Move’ – testimonials of child rights professionals working to protect children on the move here