EP: Migrant children can not be detained

Thursday, May 3, 2018

All immigrant children and families should be accommodated in community facilities without taking them into custody until their refugee applications are processed write European Parliament (EP) representatives in a statement on Thursday.

The resolution adopted at the end of a two-day plenary session in Brussels suggests that children should not be detained for immigration purposes and the European Commission should initiate infringement proceedings against member states where children and their families are kept in custody due to prolonged asylum procedure.

According to the data of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), at the end of 2016 most refugees and migrant children were detained in Bulgaria, but many children were also housed in closed facilities in Greece, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

On the other hand, in exemplary countries like Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Spain and the United Kingdom not one children was detained.

UNICEF data shows that around 5.4 million migrant children live in Europe - one in six of the world's migrant children population. About half of children come to Europe alone. Due to lack of reliable information, lengthy family reunification, custody procedures, fear of detention, return and relocation prompt children to escape from custody, which puts them at risk of getting into the arms of people traffickers. The EP therefore, urges member states to speed up immigration procedures of children and ensure that they are accommodated separately from adults to prevent violence and sexual harassment.

The EU Parliament also called for priority to be given to relocation of unaccompanied children under the EU Migration Act. The EU body urged member states to speed up family reunification procedures without further delay.

MEPs also called on member states to work more closely together in investigating children's identity who are victims of people trafficking, sexual abuse and exploitation.

With regard to the establishment of the age of the child, the EP calls on member states to proceed with medical examination in a less intrusive way, respecting the child's dignity.

(MTI -


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