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Strengthening guardianship systems for unaccompanied and separated migrant children

According to the Migration Committee, member States do not currently ensure effective guardianship systems for unaccompanied and separated migrant children, guaranteeing the protection and respect of their fundamental rights.

“Guardianship systems are not harmonised across Europe. There is a serious lack of qualified professionals to act as guardians and there are considerable delays in their appointment, in particular in the countries which face large influxes of migrants,” the parliamentarians stressed, recalling the need to safeguard the children’s best interests in all processes concerning them.

By adopting a draft resolution, based on the report by Rósa Björk Brynjólfsdóttir (Iceland, UEL), the committee proposed a series of measures to member States to strengthen guardianship systems, with a view to providing assistance to unaccompanied and separated migrant children as soon as they arrive in Europe. In particular, it recommends that States review their legislation in this field, allocate the necessary financial, technical and human resources to ensure that every child is assigned a guardian immediately on reception, and create a Europe-wide unified database to make sure that these children are identified and provided with timely protection.

While welcoming the adoption by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers of Recommendation CM/Rec(2019)11 on effective guardianship for unaccompanied and separated migrant children, the committee invited the Steering Committee on the Rights of the Child (CDENF) to set up a mechanism for the quick and safe relocation of unaccompanied migrant children to countries with developed child protection systems.