Protecting Migrant Children is the topic of this year’s European Forum on the Rights of the Child, taking place Nov 29 – 30 in Brussels.
This year has seen an increase in the number of children migrating, with at least 1 of every 3 people arriving to Greece by sea being children. In 2016 the number of unaccompanied children arriving to Italy has doubled compared to 2015.
All of these children travel with the very-real threat of being locked in detention.
Children and their families must never be detained, and investment in community-based alternatives to detention should be made a key priority.
The forum brings together a wide range of stakeholders to exchange information and good practice on the rights of the child, including EU countries’ representatives, the Ombudspersons for children, Representatives of EU institutions, the Council of Europe and international organisations.
The Council of Europe already has a Parliamentary Campaign to End Child Detention, which urges for the protection of migrant children. The Human Rights Commissioner for the Council of Europe, Mr. Nils Muižnieks, named ending child detention as a top issue for child rights in 2014, and since this date little has changed in practical terms in Europe.
EU leadership is needed urgently which puts the rights of children on the agenda.