I have learned with concern that the Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies, in its examination of Bill No. 6992 on the free movement of persons and immigration and on the holding centre, is considering extending the maximum period for the detention of migrant children and their families to seven days.
The detention of a migrant child, even if it is a measure taken as a last resort, is never in the child’s best interest. Deprivation of liberty, even for a short period, is often a shocking if not traumatising experience for children and has extremely detrimental consequences for their mental health.
Whatever the length and conditions of detention, it would be wrong to opt for deprivation of liberty as a means of effectively managing migration flows in a way which shows due regard for human rights. I am convinced that the Luxembourg authorities are able to come up with alternative solutions to controlling immigration which respect the dignity and rights of migrant children.
I urge the deputies to comply with Luxembourg’s legal obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. I strongly encourage the authorities to develop, in domestic law and national policies, alternatives to the detention of minors and ultimately to put an end to the detention of migrant children.
Migrant children are first and foremost children who need our support.