10 priorities for the protection of the rights of refugee and migrant children

Protection and care for children during rescue and transfer operations; the need to ban child refugee and migrant children detention; more efforts to step up international protection for every child in fear of being persecuted; new measures to prevent the separation of children from their parents; protection against abuse, violence, exploitation and trafficking, with the best interests of the child at the heart of all decisions regarding children arriving in Europe, regardless of whether they apply for asylum or not.

These are some of the recommendations contained in the “Palermo Call for Action” listing ten priorities for the protection of the rights of refugee and migrant children within hotspots, identification points and other measures introduced by the EU Agenda on migration. The call for action was discussed in a roundtable with the participation of hotspots operators, civil society organisations and institutions, invited in Palermo by the Co-chair of the Intergroup on children’s rights of the European Parliament and the Italian National Committee for UNICEF.

This “Palermo Call for Action” echoes the Joint letter to the European Council sent at the end of October by Terre des Hommes, together with other 58 leading organisations in the fields of human rights, child rights, health and social inclusion, including Unicef, to express concerns over the lack of attention afforded to children’s rights in the policy discussions and developments and to urge the EU and its Member States to implement ten actions to ensure protection to all children affected by migration.

We urged Heads of Government and Ministers to develop and implement concrete measures towards a strategy ensuring effective protection for all children affected by migration, and within CONCORD we have drafted a Position paper towards La Valetta EU-Africa Migration Summit, Malta, 11-12 November 2015.

Since the launch of the new  EU agenda on migration Terre des Hommes is active working on specific proposals for the protection of refugee and migrant children arriving in Europe.