In its judgment the ECtHR reiterated the finding that States Parties have a positive obligation to protect and take care of unaccompanied migrant children under Article 3 ECHR and Article 20 CRC. In cases concerning foreign minors, whether accompanied or unaccompanied, the child’s situation of extreme vulnerability is the decisive factor and it takes precedence over considerations relating to their status as an irregular migrant.
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Directive 2008/115/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals
The “Return Directive”, with implementation deadline of 24 December 2010, sets up a common set of rules for the return of non-EU nationals who do not or who no longer fulfil the conditions for entry, stay or residence within the territory of any EU country, and the related procedural safeguards. It establishes a legal obligation for Member States to take due account of the best interests of the child (Article 5) and to use immigration detention of children and families only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time (Articles 15 and 17).
CJEU, M.A. v Belgium, Case no. C-112/20, 11 March 2021
This decision concerns a request for a preliminary ruling on the interpretation of article 5 of Directive 2008/115/EC of 16 December 2008 on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals (the Return Directive). The CJEU found that the child’s best interests principle applies also to decisions which are not addressed directly to a minor but have significant consequences for them.
CJEU, M.A., B.T. and D.A. v Secretary of State of the Home Department, Case no. C-648/11, 6 June 2013
This decision concerns a request for a preliminary ruling on the interpretation of the second paragraph of article 6 of Council Regulation (EC) No 343/2003 (the Dublin II Regulation). The CJEU found that the child’s best interests must be a primary consideration in all decisions adopted by the Member States on the basis of the referred norm.
Directive 2013/33/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on standards for the reception of applicants for international protection (recast)
The recast “Reception Conditions Directive” is a recast of a previous Directive (Council Directive 2003/9/EC of 27 January 2003), with implementation deadline of 21 July 2015. The Directive covers also detention of asylum seekers (artt. 8-10) and of vulnerable persons and minors (art. 11).
Guidelines on the Applicable Criteria and Standards relating to the Detention of Asylum-Seekers and Alternatives to Detention
These Guidelines reflect the current state of international law relating to the detention of asylum-seekers and are intended to guide governments and decision-makers, including judges.