Delaying disembarkation worsens child migrants suffering – UNCCR

first_img SharePrint Twitter / Maud Veith / SOS MEDITERRANEE Twitter / Maud Veith / SOS MEDITERRANEE The United Nations Committee for Children’s Rights has warned that delaying disembarkation for rescued migrants only worsens the suffering or child migrants.The 18-member Committee made up of international independent experts in the human rights field, state that, ‘delays in authorizing the disembarkation in the nearest place of safety of rescued migrants and refugees, including children, leaves them stranded at the sea, further exacerbating their vulnerabilities.’This is just one of their main concerns in relation to changes and amendments made to the Immigration Act 2015 and Strategy for the Reception of Asylum-Seekers and Irregular Migrants 2016. While the group says it supports many of the introduced safeguards and ‘temporary humanitarian protection status,’ granted to unaccompanied children, there are still serious concerns outstanding.(b) The age assessment procedure is not multidisciplinary, and there are shortcomings relating to transparency, independence, appointment of guardians, and the application of the principles of the best interests of the child and the benefit of the doubt;(c) The guardianship system for unaccompanied children does not have adequate human, technical and financial resources, and is not sufficiently independent, which may lead to a conflict of interest and hinder the best interests of the child;(d) The Reception of Asylum Seekers Regulations under the Refugees Act still provide for the possibility of placing asylum-seeking and refugee children in detention as a measure of last resort under article 14 (1), and of placing unaccompanied children aged sixteen years or over in accommodation centres for adult asylum-seekers, under article 15;(e) The temporary humanitarian protection status for unaccompanied children and the rights and benefits attached to it, are not regulated by law.Read more:Why can’t child migrants speak for themselves?Europe needs to realise the impact of its policies on child migrants‘We need more resources to investigate when child migrants go missing’Prioritise transfer to asylum seeking and refugee children and families In addition to voicing their serious concerns, the 18-member group also outlines a series of recommendations to the authorities on how to support migrant children.The group calls for the prioritising of the transfer of asylum seeking children and families from reception facilities to more permanent resettlement options.‘Prioritize the immediate transfer of asylum-seeking children and their families out of the Initial Reception Facility, and adopt permanent and sustainable resettlement options for refugees, particularly children and their families,’ the group demands.In addition to this demand, there are a number of equally important recommendations focused on protecting child migrants under international law and the assigning of unaccompanied minors guardians and appropriate determination procedures.(a) Continue to review relevant laws, regulations, policies and practices to ensure they do not create, exacerbate or increase the vulnerabilities of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant children, including by applying a human rights-based, gender- and disability-responsive, and age- and child-sensitive approach; CRC/C/MLT/CO/3-6 12(b) Implement a uniform protocol on age determination methods that is multidisciplinary, respectful of children’s rights and used only in cases of serious doubt about the claimed age and in consideration of documentary or other forms of evidence available, and ensure access to effective appeal mechanisms;(c) Ensure that unaccompanied children are assigned a competent guardian, who has the necessary expertise and is free from any potential conflict of interest, immediately upon their arrival at the border and ensure that best interest determination procedures are carried out at all stages of the national asylum procedure;(d) Process cases involving asylum-seeking and refugee children, including unaccompanied children, in a positive, humane and expeditious manner as a means of identifying durable solutions, ensuring full respect for the principle of non-refoulement and facilitating access to the asylum procedures for children in need of international protection in line with articles 6, 22 and 37 of the Convention;(e) Ensure that child protection authorities are promptly informed and assigned to participate in procedures for the determination of the best interests of the child once an unaccompanied or separated child arrives in the State party, in accordance with international law, including by training border officials on the rights of the child and child-sensitive procedures;(f) Prohibit the immigration detention of migrant, asylum-seeking and refugee children in law and ensure that legal prohibition is implemented in practice, and ensure effective alternatives to detention so as to allow children to remain with family members and/or guardians in non-custodial, community-based contexts, consistent with their best interests;(g) Prioritize the immediate transfer of asylum-seeking children and their families out of the Initial Reception Facility, and adopt permanent and sustainable resettlement options for refugees, particularly children and their families;(h) Transform the policy of granting temporary humanitarian protection to unaccompanied children into law so as to ensure their rights and best interests are protected even if they are not found to be in need of international protection.WhatsApp <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more