The UNHCR Guidelines aim to define the principles and practical measures for the protection and assistance of refugee children. UNHCR argues that because detention can be very harmful to refugee children, it must be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time. The same principle applies to alternative accommodation in which children are held under prison-like conditions. Families must be kept together at all times.
Key Words Archives: Right to health and health care
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).
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 2020 (2014): The alternatives to immigration detention of children
The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly notes that although the legislation of most member States provides for the introduction of alternatives to detention, the majority of countries are not applying them in practice. The Assembly calls for an end to the detention of migrant children.
UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), General comment No. 12 (2009): The right of the child to be heard
Joint general comment No. 3 (2017) of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (CMW) and No. 22 (2017) of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on the general principles regarding the human rights of children in the context of international migration
The Joint General Comment of the CMW and CRC addresses the human rights of all children, independently of their or their parents’ status, in the context of international migration. Fundamental principles like non-discrimination, the best interests of the child and the right to be heard need to be integrated by States Parties into migration-related frameworks, policies and practices.
Decision n° 251.051 of 24 June 2021, Council of State (Belgium)
Final decision of the Council of State on the action for suspension and annulment brought by a coalition of associations after the publication of the Royal Decree of 22 July 2018 establishing the modalities of detention of families in migration. The Council of State decides to maintain the provision that allows the deprivation of liberty of families for a maximum period of 4 weeks and declares itself not competent to pronounce on the concrete measures for the functioning of the family homes.