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European standards on guardianship and effective alternatives to detention

In its first meeting on 2-3 February 2017, the Drafting Group of Experts on Children’s Rights and Safeguards in the context of migration (CAHENF-Safeguards) discussed key aspects that should be covered by the standards on guardianship, including a draft outline of the legal instrument. A survey to gather examples of age assessment policies, procedures and practices in Council of Europe member states which are respectful of children’s rights was prepared and circulated to member states for completion. The meeting was also an opportunity to exchange knowledge, promising practices and experiences among member states. The drafting group was established to assist the Ad-Hoc Committee on the Rights of the Child (CAHENF) in its mandate related to the development of standards on guardianship and age assessment to provide appropriate safeguards to children in the context of migration. The expert group plan to complete its work by the end of 2018.

On 15-17 February 2017, two intergovernmental committees of the Council of Europe met in Cyprus to look into the issue of common European legal standards regarding immigration detention.
The Committee of Experts on Administrative Detention of Migrants (CJ-DAM) is codifying existing standards on the conditions of the administrative detention of migrants, while the Drafting Group on Migration and Human Rights (CDDH-MIG) is conducting an analysis on effective alternatives to immigration detention and exploring possible legal and practical actions in the field. Hosted by the Cypriot Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the two committees held joint and parallel meetings in order to exchange views on issues of common concern. Particular attention was given to the situation of vulnerable persons, especially unaccompanied or separated children. CAHENF representatives participated actively to ensure that children’s rights are adequately reflected in the work of these committees and reinforced the message that immigration detention is never in the best interest of children.