On the International Day for Protection of Children, ADC Memorial reiterates the issue of migrant children and the necessity of new agreements on return of children between the countries of migration, based on cooperation between social, and not law enforcement, agencies. This is needed to ensure that return of children does not lead to further violations of children’s rights.
Within a new phase of the #CrossBorderChildhood campaign ADC Memorial publishes the minimal standards for interstate agreements on return of children based on contemporary norms of child’s rights, recommendations of CRC, Council of Europe, and IOM. These standards include the principles of non-separation of families, regardless of their immigration status; complete abandonment of immigration detention of children; access to education and healthcare in the country of residence; appointment of legal representative for unaccompanied minors; and decision-making on return or stay based on best interests of child.
The campaign is supported by a number of human rights experts, representatives of international organisations, lawyers, and state officials of executive and legislative authorities from those countries where the issue of violation of rights of children migrants is acute. In these countries children are placed in custody in detention centres without opportunities to study and develop, and where they are often separated from their families.
ADC Memorial calls the governments to stop immigration detention of migrant children, separation of families, return as a procedure of police cooperation. All these outdated practices should be substituted by bilateral humane agreements based on international law. The minimal standards, proposed within the campaign #CrossBorderChildhood could become a basis for such documents. And while they are difficult to elaborate, they are essential for observance of children rights.