Against the detention and forced removal of foreign minors
Detention of minors should not be allowed on the bases of immigration status. This principle has been reiterated by numerous international bodies (1) who called for the immediate admission of minors in the territory.
In the framework of children’s rights for protection and the respect of the principle of the best interest of the child as defined by international law (2), forced return of minors is not allowed.
However, the majority of European countries detain and remove foreign minors (3) whether they are alone or with their family. National legislations allowing for practices of the detention and forced removal of children which have very bad consequences, are regularly denounced by NGOs and childhood professionals who point out that many alternatives to these practices are available.
Currently, EU Member States are discussing an EU directive on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals (4). The draft text allows for the detention and forced removal of minors.
The organisations below demand that if this directive is adopted, it should respect to international commitments signed by the EU Member States. We ask that the EU law rigorously prohibits the detention and forced removal of minors. We propose the following amendments to the draft directive:
Article 5- Family relations and the best interests of the child
When implementing this Directive, Member States shall take due account of the nature and solidity of the third country national’s family relationships, the duration of his stay in the Member State and of the existence of family, cultural and social ties with his country of origin.
Addition: In accordance with the best interests of the child, as defined by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Member States provide that minors cannot be subject to either a measure of forced removal or of detention.
Article 8 – Postponement
Deletion of Article 8-2 c) (5)
Article 15 – Detention of minors
Deletion of Article 15-3 (6)
Addition : Unaccompanied minors should be placed in the care of child-welfare authorities and shall under no circumstances be detained.
(1) The High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Alliance Save the Children in the framework of the Program for separated Children in Europe – Statement of good practice.
(2) Article 3 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
(3) Informations about minors in detention.
(4) COM 2005 (391).
(5) This deletion suppress all reference to possible forced removal of unaccompanied minors.
(6) Corresponding to article 15-2 al 2 in the French and German versions.
CIRE (Coordination et Initiatives pour et avec les Réfugiés et Étrangers)Spain :
APDHA (Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de Andalucía)
CEAR (Comision espanola de ayuda al refugiado)
European organizations :
Conference about minors in Europe
FOCUS ON CHILDREN IN MIGRATION – FROM A EUROPEAN RESEARCH AND METHOD PERSPECTIVE –
A EUROPEAN CONFERENCE – WARSAW, POLAND 20-21 MARCH 2007
Save The Children, European Network of Masters in Children’s Rights, Separated Children in Europe programm