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Progress made in actions protecting refugee and migrant children in Europe

Secretary General’s Special Representative on migration and refugees
27 September 2018
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Progress made in actions protecting refugee and migrant children in Europe

Council of Europe is presenting progress in actions taken to ensure the safety and the proper treatment of children entering Europe, according to the report “Refugee and migrant children in Europe” - Progress in implementation of the Action Plan (2017–2019), published today.

“I am pleased that Council of Europe can offer a solid and coherent response to the challenges faced by member states in protecting children in migration. Our common efforts are paying off: all activities foreseen for 2017 have been successfully developed, initiated or completed and activities for 2018 have been initiated or are ongoing”, said the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees, Tomáš Boček, who is co-ordinating the implementation of the Council of Europe Action Plan on Protecting Refugee and Migrant Children in Europe (2017-2019).

The activities carried out under the Action Plan have a special focus on unaccompanied and separated children aiming at ensuring access to rights and child-friendly procedures, providing effective protection from violence and enhancing integration of children who would remain in Europe.

Among concrete activities achieved are:

  • A training module on the rights of refugee and migrant children for legal and other professionals;

  • Training and a guide for Parliamentarians visiting places where children are deprived of their liberty as a result of immigration procedures;

  • Language support toolkit for adult refugees;

  • European qualifications passport for refugees;

  • CPT factsheet on immigration detention.

Ongoing and initiated activities include:

  • New guidelines regarding effective guardianship and age assessment;

  • Handbook on child-friendly information;

  • Handbook on standards and good practices to restore family links;

  • Promotion of alternatives to immigration detention;

  • Two working groups working on measures preventing and suppressing smuggling of migrants;

  • A compendium of good practices in the fight against child trafficking;

  • A survey of member states´ experience on provision of education to migrants and refugees and on integrating them into mainstream education

  • New guidelines on support measures for transition to adulthood.

The report emphasizes the added value of streamlined co-operation among 17 different entities of the Council of Europe to achieve measurable results. Further, are provided examples of thematic co-operation with international partners, such as contributing to achieving the objectives of the UN Global Compacts on migration and refugees and the contribution to the achievements of a number of goals in the European Commission’s Communication on the protection of children in migration.

“The role of the Council of Europe as an actor in promoting human rights in the context of migration is of great importance. I am confident that member states can benefit from the different solutions offered in the framework of the Action Plan in improving the situation of children on the move”, said the Special Representative.

The Action Plan was launched by the 47 member states in Nicosia, Cyprus on 19 May 2017. A final assessment of the Action Plan results will take place in early 2020.