In a press release from November 17, United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) announced two Joint General Comments providing authoritative and extensive guidance in the protection the rights of child migrants. The UN Comments are based on consultations with UN agencies, states, civil society organisations and national human rights institutions from across the globe.
The Joint General Comments (CMW/C/GC/3-CRC/C/GC/22) and (CMW/C/GC/4-CRC/C/GC/23) from the ‘Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families’ and the ‘Committee on the Rights of the Child on the general principles regarding the human rights of children in the context of international migration’ underline the fundamental principles of non-discrimination, the right to life, survival and development, the right to be heard and to participate, the best interests of the child and right to liberty and freedom and introduces a total ban of detention: “The detention of any child because of their or their parents’ migration status constitutes a child rights violation and contravenes the principle of the best interests of the child. In this light, both Committees have repeatedly affirmed that children should never be detained for reasons related to their or their parents’ migration status and States should expeditiously and completely cease or eradicate the immigration detention of children.”
The Comments relate to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families and the Convention on the Rights of the Child and provide the frame for rights-based migration policies in the 196 States that has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child including countries of origin, transit, destination and return and have the potential to form frameworks such as Global Compacts on Migration and Refugees and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) regarding the rights of children.
“Migrants are exposed to violence, sexual violence, exploitation and trafficking as well as detention and rights violations by states and the risk and consequences multiply when you are a migrant child. The fact that we now have a thorough and authoritative guidance on the protection of their fundamental rights ensures that there are no excuses to neglect them. This is a victory for UN, NGO’s and institutions who have contributed in the process and now it is vital that we ensure that it becomes a decisive victory for the of most vulnerable children on this planet,” says Elona ECRE Senior Policy And Project Officer – Children.
For further information:
- Joint UN/NGO statement, Let’s Work To End Child Immigration Detention, November 2017
- European Commission, Communication on the protection on children in migration, April 2017
- Initiative For Child Rights In The Global Compacts, Child Rights In The Global Compacts, June 2017
- A joint UNICEF-IRC-UNHCR Paper, The Way Forward to strengthened Policies and Practices for UASC in Europe, July 2017
Photo: (cc) United Nations Photo, August 2009