Guidance to respect children’s rights in return policies and practices: Focus on the EU legal framework

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Date of publication:  03 Oct 2019 Author:  UNICEF UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) International Organization for Migration (IOM) Save The Children Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM) European Council for Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) and Child Circle Publisher:  Destination Unknown

The document provides guidance for state authorities on the design and implementation of return procedures that are child rights compliant.

It explains concrete measures for legalisation and policy to ensure respect for the rights of every child, including children in families. Contains guidance to bring policy and legislation in line with international law obligations, in particular the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, and the EU Return Directive where applicable.

The best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration in all actions concerning them. The precondition to any return of a child – whether unaccompanied, separated or within a family – is that their best interests have been examined and return is found to be in their best interests. The guide aims to help to design specific procedures, suggests factors to be considered, possible outcomes and how to implement a decision when return is found to be in the best interests of the child. It does not address how to implement the decision when an alternative durable solution is found to be in the best interests of the child as a result of the procedure.

Main parts:

  • Introduction: When does the question of return of children arise and how are their best interests considered?
    • Identifying and implementing durable solutions
    • Flowchart: Steps for the procedure and implementation when return is a durable solution in the best interests of the child
  • Developing the best-interests procedure for the identification of durable solutions
    • Designing the procedure
      • Considerations for all children
      • Additional safeguards for unaccompanied and separated children
      • Additional safeguards for children with their families
    • Factors to be considered in the procedure.
      • Considerations for all children
      • Additional considerations for unaccompanied and separated children
      • Outcomes of the procedure
  • Implementation of a return decision in the best interests of the child
    • Voluntary Departure
      • Considerations for all children
      • Additional safeguards in cases of unaccompanied children
    • Essential safeguards before proceeding with removal if voluntary departure does not occur
  • Children’s data. Use of personal data of children in return procedures
  • Ageing out. Protection needs do not end on a child’s 18th birthday

 

Total number of pages: 
32
Series this is part of: 
Country(s) this content is relevant to: 
European Union

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