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Committee calls for the protection of unaccompanied minors in Europe to be harmonised

PACE Migration Committee today called on European governments to improve the protection of unaccompanied migrant minors and to avoid them going missing. The present migration and refugee crisis, the committee said, has exacerbated the challenges of how to treat and assist these children on the move, and “generated new problems with the realisation that large numbers of children are going missing at different stages of their journey”, especially directly after arrival at reception centres.

Adopting a draft resolution, based on the report prepared by Manlio Di Stefano (Italy, NR), the parliamentarians called on Council of Europe member States to protect children from trafficking and criminal activities to which they are particularly vulnerable, uphold the right to family reunion in the case of separated migrant minors and harmonise the rules concerning the establishment of guardians and legal representatives.

All unaccompanied migrant children, the text underlines, should be adequately registered upon arrival in Europe and “immediately treated first and foremost as children”. Accelerated asylum application procedures should be implemented, including the early designation of sufficiently-trained guardians and legal representatives who can assist children and who are each allocated a small number of migrant children.

The Assembly will discuss the draft recommendation at its next plenary session (Strasbourg, 10-14 October 2016).