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Leaving millions of labour migrants’ children without parental care is a violation of human rights

PACE Social Affairs Committee has said it deplores the complacency of both countries of origin and destination concerning children who are “left behind” when their parents migrate abroad for work, potentially depriving them of support and protection.

“Leaving millions of children without parental care is a mass violation of human rights, and an unnecessary threat to the stability and prosperity of our countries,” said the committee, approving a draft resolution based on a report by Viorel Badea (Romania, EPP/CD).

“All countries need to acknowledge the scale of this phenomenon and the long-term damage it creates, and to put in place comprehensive approaches to labour migration, which are child-centred, human-rights based, gender-sensitive and socially and economically sustainable,” the committee said.

States should privilege a form of labour migration which enables children to migrate together with their parents if they so wish, the parliamentarians added.

In the longer term, destination countries should seek to reduce their reliance on what is considered a cheap, flexible source of labour, while countries of origin should seek to reduce their dependency on remittances sent home by workers abroad.

The parliamentarians called for a series of measures, including social and educational support for “left-behind” children, fair family reunification policies, and more legal avenues for migration to reduce the risk of exploitative working conditions.