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Council of Europe HELP course on Refugee and migrant children launched in Italy

Naples 30-31 October 2019
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© Council of Europe

© Council of Europe

70 Italian judges, prosecutors and lawyers attended the launch of the HELP course on Refugee and migrant children, organised in Naples on 30-31 October in cooperation with the Italian School of Magistrates (Scuola Superiore della Magistratura - SSM) and the National Bar Council (Consiglio Nazionale Forense - CNF).

Participants were welcomed by Luca Perilli, member of the SSM Board of Directors and HELP Focal Point, Maria Masi, CNF Vice-president, and Francesco Caia, Head of the CNF Commission for Human Rights. Eva Pastrana, Head of the HELP Unit, highlighted the importance of first ever joint launch of a HELP course in Italy by the SSM and CNF, favouring interactions among judges, prosecutors and lawyers.  The Council of Europe Programme for Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP) was presented Valentina Boz, HELP Project coordinator.

The participants could benefit from the presence of Raffaele Sabato, Judge at the European Court of Human Rights elected in respect of Italy, who delivered a thorough presentations on the case law of the European Court of Human Rights in the field of migration, with a focus on children. Entry, family reunification, expulsions or extraditions, residence permits, and application of interim measures were also part of his insightful presentation.

Giuseppe Lococo, Protection Associate at UNHCR Office for South Europe, delivered a presentation of the situation asylum seekers and unaccompanied children encounter in Italy and the related work of UNHCR; while Marina Capriola, Senior Vulnerability Officer at the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) provided a detailed examination of the EASO support activities in Italy as well as the practical tools available to legal professionals.

Given the difficulties that legal professionals might encounter when communicating with unaccompanied children, Monica Luci, clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst at the Italian Refugee Council, delivered a practical presentation on the interview techniques with a focus on the age assessment.

Finally, Judge Cristina Correale and lawyers Federico Di Salvo and Alessio Sangiorgi, HELP tutors, introduced participants to the content of the course and its implementation. Following the launching event, two HELP courses will be implemented over a three-month period for a group of judges and prosecutors and a group of lawyers.

The HELP course on Refugee and Migrant Children has been developed and launched in collaboration with the Office of the Special Representative of the Council of Europe Secretary General on Migration and Refugees. The course is one of the measures implementing the Council of Europe Action Plan on protecting Refugee and Migrant Children in Europe (2017-2019).

The HELP course explains how critical issues are addressed in the international and European legal framework and provides an overview of the relevant case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. It allows legal and other professionals to improve their knowledge and skills on the existing standards in this area and to apply them in their daily work.

The course covers the following topics:

  • Introduction to the legal framework
  • Child-friendly procedures
  • Alternatives to detention
  • Family reunification
  • Social rights and integration
  • Guardianship
  • Age assessment

The course Refugee and Migrant Children is available in the HELP online platform in English and will be available in Arabic, Azerbaijani, French, Greek, Italian, Spanish and Turkish, with more to follow.

Group photo of HELP Secretariat with key partners during the course launch on Refugee and Migrant Children in Naples. © Council of Europe


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