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Impact of labour migration on “left-behind” children

Recommendation 2196 (2021)

Parliamentary Assembly
Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 19 March 2021 (see Doc. 15173, report of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development, rapporteur: Mr Viorel Riceard Badea; and Doc. 15183, opinion of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, rapporteur: Mr Oleksii Goncharenko).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly refers to its Resolution 2366 (2021) on the impact of labour migration on “left-behind” children and its Resolution 2310 (2019) on labour migration from eastern Europe and its impact on socio-demographic processes in these countries, and notes that the Council of Europe has a broad range of legal instruments that can help its member States to improve the situation of children who are left behind when their parents migrate, including the European Social Charter (revised) (ETS No. 163), the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (CETS No. 201, “Lanzarote Convention”), the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (CETS No. 210, “Istanbul Convention”) and the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (CETS No. 197). However, the Assembly is concerned that the impact of labour migration is often underestimated, and that left-behind children are a particularly vulnerable group that is largely invisible and not given sufficient attention.
2. The Assembly calls on the Committee of Ministers to encourage the relevant bodies of the Council of Europe, including the Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees, the European Committee of Social Rights, the Steering Committee for the Rights of the Child, the Committee of the Parties to the Istanbul Convention and the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) to systematically consider the issue of left-behind children in their work.
3. The Assembly recalls its Recommendation 2108 (2017) on a comprehensive humanitarian and political response to the migration and refugee crisis and the continuing flows into Europe and its Recommendation 2109 (2017) on migration as an opportunity for European development, and reiterates its calls for the possible creation of bodies or committees to support co-operation among the member States in the area of migration. The Assembly is convinced that such bodies would provide a useful “common platform for exchange, experience sharing and policy making among Council of Europe member States, as well as a solid basis for directing the Organisation’s action” (Recommendation 2108 (2017)).
4. The Assembly notes that the European Convention on the Legal Status of Migrant Workers (ETS No. 93), which entered into force in 1983, has only been ratified by 11 Council of Europe member States. It invites the Committee of Ministers to examine the barriers to the ratification of this convention, consider reviewing this legal instrument in view of the latest developments in the area of labour migration and examine the modalities for effectively monitoring its implementation.