International Migrants Day 2018

Photography credits: Trocaire3/Flickr
On September 2016 the first ever summit on large movements of refugees and migrants took place. The United Nations General Assembly adopted a set of commitments to enhance the protection of refugees and migrants, known as the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants (NY Declaration).
The Declaration represents a commitment by Member States to strengthen and enhance mechanisms to protect people on the move and reaffirms the importance of the international protection regime.
In recent years, ChildPact, together with its members, national coalitions for child protection, expressed their concern on the situation of refugee and migrant children, who are above all children and called on all stakeholders to increase their efforts to properly address the needs of all refugee children, including unaccompanied minors (UAM), who find themselves in an exceptionally vulnerable situation. Increased mobilization and coordination capacity are key to such efforts, but also prioritization of intervention targeting children as the most and worst affected group.

Many children and their families continue to experience extremely difficult situations year after year. This year, in the occasion of the International Migrants Day, we continue to urge governments:

  • To demonstrate more commitment to ensure protection of migrant and refugee children from violence, abuse and trafficking
  • To make promptly available immediate access to the asylum procedure, prioritizing children
  •  To increase efforts towards facilitating family reunifications and enhance intergovernmental cooperation on this issue
  • To provide adequate nutrition, accommodation, healthcare, psychosocial support, and education to all minors
  • To prioritize access to education, in particular for those children who have remained out of school for a long time
  • To make all efforts to develop a working mechanism that guarantees timely appointment of guardians and/or legal representatives to unaccompanied minors in all countries of the region
  • To provide immediate access for children to translators, social workers, and providers of legal support.
  • To refrain from the practice of institutionalization or detention of unaccompanied minors and establish a system of family-type centers, when necessary, and introduce mechanisms for family tracing and reunification;
  • To improve cooperation and coordination at the national, regional or transnational levels in order to reduce the growing pressure on national protection systems

For improved response, Governments are also called upon:

  • To adhere to the minimal common standards for protection of unaccompanied migrant and refugee children as well as to improve cooperation regarding certain tasks, such as identification and registration of children, family tracing and reunification, etc.
  • To develop data collection and monitoring mechanisms, as well as to use universal record-keeping forms and to improve information exchange about children and available services
  • To launch campaigns aimed at contrasting discrimination and xenophobia, as well as at raising awareness and making the public more sensitive to the vulnerable condition of migrant children and unaccompanied minors in particular
  • To develop special mechanisms to prevent the disappearance of unaccompanied minors from the facilities that host them taking into account that the first 24 hours are considered fundamental to prevent that minors abandon relevant facilities, leaving them more exposed and vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking.
We must protect, promote and defend the rights of migrants together!