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Protecting and caring for unaccompanied or separated migrant and refugee children

The Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine, as well as the increase in arrivals of asylum seekers and migrants across the Mediterranean Sea, have caused rapidly growing numbers of unaccompanied and separated migrant and refugee children in Europe.

Confronted with this worrying situation, the member States of the Council of Europe have a positive obligation - under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights - to protect private and family life, especially of unaccompanied and separated migrant and refugee children.

Following the proposals by the rapporteur Mariia Mezentseva (Ukraine, EPP/CD), the Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution underlining that the best interests of these children must be guaranteed, irrespective of their migration status.

Particular attention should be paid to victims of violence, abuse and human trafficking, as well as to children with special needs, including medical and psychological needs.

Member States should adopt alternative care solutions as interim measures, until children can be reunited with their families, in particular kinship care, foster care and family-based care, with supervised and independent living arrangements, the parliamentarians said.