UN agencies issue roadmap for helping unaccompanied migrant children

UNITED NATIONS, July 10 (A PP): A group of UN and partner agencies on
Monday issued a roadmap for action to improve the situation of refugee and migrant
children arriving and staying in Europe without their parents or care givers.
The roadmap, jointly issued by the UN refugee agency UNHCR, the United
Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF, and the International Rescue Committee (IRC),
highlights the need to identify children, register them through child-friendly procedures,
and build a relationship of trust with them as early as possible.
It also provides recommendations developed in a broad consultative
process led by the three organizations, with input from 100 practitioners.
UN documents have showed that although a solid legal framework for child
protection exists in many countries, complex, costly, and bureaucratic procedures have
meant that all too often the best interests of unaccompanied and separated children are
not taken into account.
“Efficient and harmonized processes would help children understand
procedures and access protection and solutions in accordance with their best interests,”
the roadmap document said.
“All actions and decisions must have the child’s best interests at
heart. We can all make this happen and the Roadmap shows us how,” said Diane
Goodman, deputy director of UNHCR’s Europe Bureau.
According to the UN, the situation for unaccompanied and separated
refugee and migrant children has worsened since the increase of arrivals to Europe back
in 2015, with a broadened use of detention and large scale institutional care, limited
family reunification opportunities, and rising concerns over deportations.