[European Union] Child immigration detention in the EU

05 Apr 2019
Source: 
Eurochild

Immigration detention of children, both of children who are alone or with their  families, is a widespread practice in EU member  states.  Although numbers  of children in detention are not adequately collected and published on national  level, the  statistics collected in 2016,  2017 and 2018 by the Fundamental Rights Agency and the Quaker Council for European Affairs show that the practice is prevalent and underreported.

On a given date in 2016, 180 children were detained in the 14 EU countries that provided data. The longest detention period of unaccompanied children was 195 days (of a 15-year old boy in Latvia, whose nationality was  not  reported) and 151  days  (of  a  16-year  old Syrian boy in Poland). There is significant divergence between member states in the methodology of collecting data; in some countries, children who are detained with their  parents  are  not  counted separately as they may not always have been subject to a detention order but deprived of liberty to keep them together with their parents.

Detention of irregular migrants or asylum  seekers under EU law arises in the context of enforcing decisions  to  return to their country of  origin, to enforce Dublin  transfers  or as part of the reception procedure for those seeking international protection. In  addition, de facto detention of asylum seekers, such as in hotspots, regularly occurs.

The Initiative for Children in Migration, together with Eurochild and other partners, developed a joint publication which aims to provide an informative description of the developments regarding child immigration detention at the global level, with a focus on European law  and  conduct, and  suggests next  steps towards ending child immigration detention and implementing alternatives. Hereby, immigration detention of children and families  is  considered  in  the  asylum  context as well as the return procedure.

Read the full text of the joint publication.

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