UN Child Right Committee (CRC) calls for EU-wide ban on child immigration detention

The CRC urges european countries to end child detention, as Belgium is about to open new detention centre for families.

While Belgium is about to start locking innocent children up again (construction of the new closed centre for families with children will be done shortly), the UN Child Rights Committee calls upon EU Member States to end child detention as soon as possible.

Indeed, ahead of a key meeting of EU institutions and Member States today on issues relating to migration and asylum, the Child Rights Committee urged European countries to end the detention of children in the context of migration. The United Nations Child Rights Committee is a body of independant experts that monitors the application of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child by the countries that ratified it.

“EU law should not allow for child immigration detention, even as a last resort, and the reform of the Common European Asylum System is a timely opportunity to ban this practice,” said Renate Winter, Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

EU law currently stipulates that migrant and asylum-seeking children may be placed in detention, as a last resort, if it is in their best interests. However, Winter stressed that “the claim that detention is necessary to protect children from going missing, being exploited or ‘absconding’ is misguided. Detaining children, whether unaccompanied or on the basis of their or of their parents’ immigration status, is never in the best interests of the child and constitutes a violation of the rights of the child.”

“There can be no exceptions to this principle,” Winter said. “All EU Member States have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and there should be no provisions in EU law that allow for practices that violate EU Member States’ international obligations.”

Read the full news release.

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