two refugee children and a white drawingSave The Children EU has released a report on the state of play of refugee and migrant children’s rights in Europe.

The publication looks at five key themes such as protection at Europe’s outer borders; immigration detention; access to asylum and residency; family reunification; and guardianship. It starts with an overall assessment of the situation in Europe and then focus on specific measures in countries at Europe’s outer borders, such as Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Tunisia, and various European countries such as Spain, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Greece.

In conclusion 10 recommendations are suggested:

  • Safeguards need to be in place to protect them before entering any formal procedure.
  • The European Commission and EU Member States should work together to establish a solidarity mechanism that protects children.
  • The European Commission should work on a plan to end child immigration detention and invest in alternative forms of care.
  • Age assessment, as defined in the EU Asylum Procedures Directive and national legislation, should only be used in case of doubt.
  • The European Commission and Member States to ensure that every unaccompanied child arriving to Europe has access to a guardian within 24 hours of arrival.
  • The European Commission and Member States should implement an immediately accessible and flexible framework for family reunification, including fast-track reunification in emergency situations.
  • Both in EU and national legislation and practice, the best interests of the child principle as provided by the UNCRC should be operationalised.
  • Ensure that both children and youth turning 18 have access to secure residency, protection and services.
  • In their external cooperation, the EU and European countries should prioritise investments in child protection systems along migratory routes.
  • The EU and European countries should strengthen and expand legal pathways for children.


For more information, please visit Save The Children’s website.

Photo Credit: Save The Children EU