On 19 May 2017 in Nicosia, Cyprus, during the 127th Session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, 47 European states adopted an Action Plan on protecting refugee and migrant children (2017-2019), the preparation of which had been facilitated by the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees, Ambassador Tomáš Boček. The Action Plan proposes concrete support to member states at all stages of the migration process, with a special focus on unaccompanied children, and has three main pillars: ensuring access to rights and child-friendly procedures; providing effective protection; and enhancing the integration of children who would remain in Europe. Ambassador Tomáš Boček will now coordinate the implementation of the Action Plan, together with different other Council of Europe entities, during the 2017-2019 time-period.
From 12 to 16 June 2017, the Special Representative will be conducting his fifth fact-finding mission. He will visit various reception centres for migrants and refugees in Serbia, notably at the border with Croatia and Hungary. Meetings are scheduled with Serbian government officials, the Mayor of Belgrade, relevant international organisations, EU representatives as well as a number of national and international NGOs. On this occasion, Ambassador Boček will also visit the transit zones of Röszke and Tompa in Hungary. Serbia and Hungary, two of the countries on the “Western Balkans route”, continue to experience an unprecedented situation as a result of recent massive arrivals of refugees and other migrants in Europe. The objective of Ambassador Boček’s fact-finding mission is to gather information on this situation and to develop proposals for concrete Council of Europe action to assist these two member States. Many of them would inevitably focus on the protection of the most vulnerable refugee and migrant groups, in particular unaccompanied children, which is one of the Special Representative’s priorities.