The report, based on his on-the-ground experience gathered during the fact-finding missions in 2016*, calls for urgent measures to find alternatives to detention of children and guarantee minimum living conditions in camps, such as gender-separate sanitary facilities, better lighting and child-friendly spaces in order to eliminate risks of sexual abuse.
The Special Representative also identified a real need to protect unaccompanied children and prevent disappearances. Other areas of concern include the lack of appropriate age-assessment measures, effective guardianship system for children and access to information and education. In the report, the SRSG calls for specialised linguistic support to refugee and migrant children to enhance their integration.
This report is the first step in a renewed focus in the Council of Europe’s activities on refugees’ and migrants’ access to rights and will be followed by the Organisation’s Action Plan for the protection of migrant and refugee children, especially unaccompanied children. The adoption of the Action Plan is scheduled for May 2017.
* The SRSG carried out four fact-finding missions to Greece and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, Turkey, northern France (Calais and Grande-Synthe) and Italy.