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Return of separeted and unaccompanied children to institutional reception or family. T he current state of affairs The perspective of states The perspective of children Return to family Return to institutional reception UNICEF approach Recommendations. Current state.

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Return of separeted and unaccompanied children to institutional reception or family

Return of separetedandunaccompaniedchildrentoinstitutionalreception or family

The current state of affairs

The perspective of states

The perspective of children

Return to family

Return toinstitutionalreception

UNICEF approach

Recommendations


Current state
Current state

  • A significant number of unaccompanied children in the EU

  • States invest heavily in increasing the number of returns

  • Yet, return hardly takes place

  • Asylum is in many cases not granted

  • Consequences: long periods of uncertainty, illegality when approaching 18, ageing out then return, voluntary return (as a result of pressure or not)


The perspective of states
The perspective of states

Return of rejected asylum cases is desired. The only options are:

  • Return to family

  • Return to ‘adequate reception’


The perspective of children
The perspective of children

Upon rejection of an asylum claim:

  • Facing pressure from the state to return

  • Facing the future of turning 18

  • For a part of them - facing pressure from the family to achieve the goals they left for

  • For a part of them – fear for the consequences of actually returning


Return to family
Return to family

  • Family tracing as an area of investment:

    • methodology and safeguards are undefined, emerging from practice

    • Consent of and/or information to the child?

    • Which actors to use for tracing?

    • Safeguards when tracing?

    • Moment to start the trace?

    • Is the goal re-establishing contact in search of a durable solution or establishing that a child is not unaccompanied


Return to institutional reception
Return toinstitutionalreception

  • Is it happening?

  • Only real frame of reference with return houses: the Netherlands – Angola, 2003-2005 (and inactive –present).

  • Facts:

    • None arrived, only 3 to 6 went between 2003 and 2005

    • Voluntary return went up (several hundreds of Angolan minors), illegality increased

    • Intimidating effects were assumed, but the facts hardly support this (attribution).

    • No monitoring, incidental information on their well-being (from good to very bad)

      More recently it emerged as a policy goal several times


Return to institutional reception1
Return toinstitutionalreception

  • Is return to institutional reception choice as a result of a best interest determination?

  • When is reception adequate?

  • What are ‘local standards’ and how are those defined?

  • What is the long-term perspective upon return?

  • Are effects monitored?


Unicef approach
UNICEF approach

  • International obligations should be central in the approach

  • Turn priorities: prioritize a durable solution and best interest determination over the focus on an actual return

  • A changed perspective: durable solutions are not reached for the target group, instead of the number of returns is too low


Recommendations
Recommendations

  • Assess the security situation carefully, on a country and local basis and specifically for children

  • Carry out a BID to identify a durable solution for every separated child

  • Develop and use child rights-based procedures for tracing and contacting families

  • Respect the best interests of children in returning to families

  • Work on possibilities for long-term development and durable solutions

  • Conduct public consultations now on policy provisions needed to accompany emerging practices

  • Do not return children tot institutional reception unless the recommended safeguards are in pace


Sources contact
Sources & contact

  • Upcoming report: Children’s rights in return policy and practice;The return of separated and unaccompanied children to institutional reception or family (UNICEF & UNICEF National Committees)

    [email protected]

    0031 6 10687626


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