12th European Forum on the Rights of the Child: “Where We Are And Where We Want To Go”
European Commission, Brussels
2-3 April 2019
GDP Executive Director Michael Flynn participated in the Annual EU Forum on the Rights of the Child held in Brussels on 2-3 April. The forum gathers key actors from EU Member States (as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, and the Western Balkans), international organisations, NGOs, Ombudspersons for children, practitioners, academics, and EU institutions to promote good practice on the rights of the child.
One of the thematic priorities of this year’s forum was “the protection of children in migration.” Children make up a significant proportion of arriving migrants and asylum seekers in Europe. Of the 141,500 arrivals to the EU by sea and land in 2018, approximately a fourth (34,200) were children. The EU argues that it has made positive progress protecting the rights of child migrants and asylum seekers, pointing in particular to the deployment of child protection teams to Greek hotspots and the reformation of guardianship systems for unaccompanied minors in some frontline countries. However, there remain enormous challenges to protecting children from violations, including pushbacks at external borders, poor reception conditions, and insufficient access to legal aid, health care, and education.
In his interventions at the forum, the GDP’s director highlighted the failure of many EU states to properly account for children in detention, the conclusion of the 2017 Joint CRC-CMW General Comment on the human rights of children in migration that the immigration detention of children violates their best interests, and the need for participants to look beyond Europe’s borders and take into account the violations child migrants and asylum seekers face as of result of EU-financed migration controls abroad.
More information about the event is available here.