In accordance with the obligation of States Parties under article 9, paragraph 1, applications by a child or his or her parents to enter or leave a State Party for the purpose of family reunification shall be dealt with by States Parties in a positive, humane and expeditious manner […] States Parties shall respect the right of the child and his or her parents to leave any country, including their own, and to enter their own country. (art. 10.1 and 2, UNCRC)

Migration poses many challenges for children and their families, such as: poverty, violence due to leaving country of origin, isolation, and fear upon arrival in the host country.

Many children arrive in new countries alone, unaccompanied and undocumented, making them vulnerable to violence, exploitation and other violations of their rights. Children in these precarious situations may be detained arbitrarily and denied their right to education or subjected to abuse.

DCI national sections, particularly – although not exclusively – in the European region, work closely with migrants and asylum seeking children to ensure that their rights are respected and protected.

Some examples of DCI’s work on the rights of migrant children include:

  • DCI-Belgium organised a public Opinion Tribunal with the aim of denouncing the Belgian State’s arbitrary detention of migrant and asylum seeking children. A mock tribunal was held with a youth jury and child rights expert jury who reviewed the cases and delivered judgements.
  • DCI-Netherlands launched a campaign No child is illegal to assist more than 30,000 children living undocumented in the Netherlands. The campaign included the development of an accessible resource website for young people on the laws affecting them and their rights.
  • DCI-Italy implemented the project Closing a Protection Gap 2.0 in collaboration with DCI-Netherlands, aimed to concretely implement the Core Standards for guardians of separated children in Europe and to feed into policy and legislative mechanisms pertaining to guardianship. It is currently working on the project RESILAND that started in November 2013, launching a two-year process to promote the participation and strengthening of personal resources and resilience of migrant children, as key mechanisms for their efficient self-protection from trafficking and exploitation.