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Sources Archives: International law

Communications No. 55/2018 E.B on behalf of E.H. et al. v. Belgium, 24 March 2022

The CRC Committee found that the children’s detention in closed family detention centres violated the prohibition on ill-treatment (art. 37 CRC), read alone and in conjunction with the best-interests principle (art. 3 CRC). Belgium’s failure to consider alternatives to detention, including the option of allowing the families to remain in their own homes while they pursued appeals and other judicial remedies, was an element of the finding that Belgium had not taken the children’s best interests as a primary consideration.

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UNHCR, Refugee Children: Guidelines on Protection and Care

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.

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Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants: ending immigration detention of children and providing adequate care and reception for them

This report of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, Felipe González Morales, was submitted in accordance with General Assembly resolution 74/148 and Human Rights Council resolution 43/6. It advocates for a human rights-based approach to end child migration detention. In particular, it urges States to integrate unaccompanied migrant children into national child protection and welfare systems without any discrimination, irrespective of the child’s migration status.

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Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly: A study of immigration detention practices and the use of alternatives to immigration detention of children

This study from the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) provides an overview of issues relating to immigration detention practices, and promotes the use of alternatives to immigration detention of children (ATDs). The study argues that the main idea behind ATDs is identifying options which provide state authorities with a degree of control over asylum seekers while allowing for a basic freedom of movement. ATDs need to be regulated in order to avoid the arbitrary imposition of restrictions on liberty or freedom of movement and, even when alternatives apply, access to legal aid should be given to migrants, especially to children.

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