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Ensuring effective guardianship for unaccompanied and separated migrant children

The PACE Standing Committee, meeting today by videoconference, underlined the essential role of guardians in ensuring protection and respect of the fundamental rights of unaccompanied and separated migrant children. “Guardianship systems are not harmonised across Europe and differ from country to country,” said the parliamentarians, pointing to a serious lack of qualified professionals to act as guardians, and considerable delays in their appointment, especially in countries facing large influxes of migrants.

By adopting unanimously a resolution, based on the report by Rósa Björk Brynjólfsdóttir (Iceland, UEL), the Standing Committee proposed a series of measures to member States to ensure effective guardianship systems for unaccompanied and separated migrant children. In particular, it recommended that States review their legislation in this field, allocate the necessary financial, technical and human resources to ensure that every unaccompanied migrant child is provided with a guardian immediately on reception, and create a Europe-wide unified database to make sure that these children are identified and provided with 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, it also invited the Steering Committee on the Rights of the Child (CDENF) to set up a mechanism for the quick and safe relocation of these children to countries with the most developed child protection systems.