A new report “Age assessment: Council of Europe member states’ policies, procedures and practices respectful of children’s rights in the context of migration” has been issued today. This report, prepared by an independent expert, is based on a survey conducted in 37 Council of Europe member states1 in spring 2017, as well as on secondary sources analysis. The aim of the report is to provide a factual overview of the current situation in the member states and support the Council of Europe’s work in developing guidelines on age assessment which respect children’s rights in the context of migration.
Across Europe, grassroots efforts have emerged in the wake of crisis that draw members of the public into the process of receiving refugees and supporting their integration. This policy brief examines the many forms community-based or private sponsorship can take,
what benefits such approaches may hold for European communities, and the tradeoffs policymakers face in their implementation.
Following the 2015–16 crisis that saw record numbers of refugees arrive in Europe, policymakers have shown interest in creating managed, legal alternatives to the dangerous, unauthorized journeys many asylum seekers make. While these discussions should be informed by an understanding of current pathways and protection channels, it is “nearly impossible” to know how protection seekers enter and what legal channels are available to them, as this MPI Europe report explains.
The Roadmap highlights the need to identify children, register them through child-friendly procedures, and build a relationship of trust with them as early as possible. Ensuring that a well-trained guardian takes immediate responsibility for the child, engaging cultural mediators, and mobilizing members of host communities are critical measures that can help build a trusting relationship and protect children from smugglers, traffickers or family pressure. The document provides recommendations developed in a broad consultative process led by the three organizations, with input from 100 practitioners, including guardians, psychologists, social workers and lawyers, as well as relevant authorities from several European states and the European Union, and refugee and migrant children across the continent. The situation for unaccompanied and separated refugee and migrant children has worsened since the increase of arrivals to Europe back in 2015, with a broadened use of detention and large scale institutional care, limited family reunification opportunities, and rising concerns over deportations. The Roadmap also recommends stronger emphasis on providing safety, proper care arrangements and services, and long-term solutions to these children based on their specific needs.
A humanitarian crisis continues to unfold in the central Mediterranean as thousands of people are dying at sea in the desperate attempt to reach safety or a better life in Europe. Instead of trying to prevent further loss of life, European leaders are focused on preventing refugees and migrants from departing from Libya to keep the number of arrivals in Europe down. This report shows how this reckless European strategy is exposing refugees and migrants to even greater risks at sea and, when intercepted, to disembarkation in Libya, where they face horrific conditions and violations in detention, torture and rape. https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/EUR0366552017ENGLISH.PDF
An AIDA legal briefing published today examines the use of special procedures to accelerate, prioritise and fast-track asylum applications in European countries. Practice reveals a wide diversity and complexity of procedural models, tools and concepts across national systems.
CPT urges European states to hold persons in remand detention only as a measure of last resort and in adequate conditions.
The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) urges the 47 Council of Europe member states to use remand detention only as a measure of last resort and to provide remand prisoners with adequate detention conditions. During visits to prisons throughout Europe, the CPT has often found that remand prisoners are held under very poor conditions and an impoverished regime.
People who are trying to access the EU in search of safety and dignity are being routinely abused by law enforcement officials in countries in the Western Balkans. State agents responsible for upholding fundamental rights are instead subjecting people to violence and intimidation and denying access to asylum procedures to those seeking international protection. Governments in the region must immediately end these violations and initiate processes to ensure safety and dignity for people on the move in their territories.
In its latest annual report, published today, the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA), has highlighted important shortcomings in a number of European countries related to the trafficking of children. The report shows that 4,361 children were identified as victims of trafficking in just 12 European countries between 2012 and 2015. Many others have failed to be detected and protected, due to gaps in the identification procedures, a failure to appoint legal guardians and the lack of appropriate and secure accommodation. GRETA’s report shows that, on average, children represent a third of the identified victims of human trafficking, but there are important variations between countries. Children are being trafficked transnationally, as well as internally, for different forms of exploitation including sexual exploitation, forced labour, domestic servitude, forced begging, forced criminal activities and forced marriage.GRETA is responsible for assessing countries’ compliance with the 2005 Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.
GRETA highlights widespread problems with identifying child victims of trafficking and providing them with safe accommodation. Many children are not being given the support they are legally entitled to, says GRETA, and some are still being punished for crimes they are forced to commit. The report also underlines that unaccompanied and separated children are particularly vulnerable to trafficking, but the authorities often have little or no information on the identification of victims of trafficking among such children.
Today’s annual report summarises GRETA’s monitoring work over the last year, which has particularly focused on trafficking in children. It also gives examples of many positive changes which the convention has helped to bring about, as well as good practices in the area of child trafficking.
The Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees (SRSG), Tomáš Boček publishes a Thematic Report on migrant and refugee children. The report, based on his on-the-ground experience gathered during the fact-finding missions in 2016*, calls for urgent measures to find alternatives to detention of children and guarantee minimum living conditions in camps, such as gender-separate sanitary facilities, better lighting and child-friendly spaces in order to eliminate risks of sexual abuse. The Special Representative also identified a real need to protect unaccompanied children and prevent disappearances. Other areas of concern include the lack of appropriate age-assessment measures, effective guardianship system for children and access to information and education. In the report, the SRSG calls for specialised linguistic support to refugee and migrant children to enhance their integration.