Date: 30-10-2015

ISSA signs call for protection of children’s rights in EU’s migration policy

In a joint statement to European Heads of State, ISSA joins 58 leading organisations in the fields of human rights, child rights, health and social inclusion, including UNICEF, OHCHR to remind them that it is their responsibility and duty to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of every child. The statement calls for the implementation of the following ten actions: 1. Consider children’s rights and views, and guarantee their best interests when making decisions, including on immigration and asylum applications and in any decision to move a child or family to another country. The best interests of the child must never be outweighed by migration and border control concerns. 2. Meet immediate humanitarian and reception needs, while also investing in systemic reform to ensure access to services in a sustainable way, and to facilitate integration. 3. Ensure that all children have non-discriminatory access to services, such as health care, including mental health, and education, and have adequate accommodation together with their family. 4. Ensure effective protection of all children from all forms of violence, abuse and exploitation and discrimination, including gender-based, and access to justice for acts of violence or other rights violations. 5. Ensure that no child is detained or subject to other punitive measures because of their or their parent’s residence or migration status. 6. Protect family unity when in the child’s best interests, including by ensuring that no child is separated from a parent by immigration-related detention. 7. Provide adequate search and rescue and humanitarian assistance to prevent all avoidable deaths, whether at sea or on land. 8. Provide regular and safe ways for children and their families to come to Europe to seek protection and join family members and open more rights-respecting avenues for work and study. 9. Ensure that all agreements with countries of origin and transit include child rights safeguards and pay particular attention to the needs and rights of children. Children and their families should not be returned to a country where there is a risk of human rights violation (non-refoulement). 10. Empower children to access justice, and have their views heard, including through providing information and access to legal representation in all proceedings that can affect their status, rights and freedoms. The full statement is available here