New youth in migration forum working for children’s rights

Posted On: June 16, 2014

EYMF_LOGO_2MEDIA RELEASE, 16 June 2014

Today as World Refugee Week commences, a new global youth led project, the European Youth in Migration Forum (EYMF), launched with a splash. The forum is concerned with improving the protection of children in migration in Europe through information, awareness and empowerment.

The forum was developed by young people in Ireland who have experienced migration in some way, shape or form. Taking stock from their own experiences, the forum members collectively felt that young people in migration can be vulnerable and require certain protections. The forum members, many who came to Ireland as separated minors, do not wish to see those who come after them experience the same hardships and difficulties they did.

“We are a group of young people from all over the world living in Ireland who are passionate about the welfare of children in migration within Europe. We feel that young people are often over looked in the discussion about issues that directly affect them and we saw this as an opportunity to do something about that”, said one founding member.

To kick things off, in conjunction with the Irish Refugee Council and UCD School of Applied Social Science, EYMF will facilitate a children’s rights summer camp for young people from 25-28 June. The young people involved will learn about the United Nations framework for children’s rights and work on making a child-friendly version of the Committee on the Rights of the Child’s General  Comment No. 6, ‘Treatment of unaccompanied and separated children outside their country of origin’, an important human rights document serving children in migration.

“This has never been done before and we are all very excited about it! We want to make information accessible to young people, make it understandable. By doing so we hope to empower young people to advocate for themselves and to be more active and involved in the things that affect them”, said a young person involved in the forum.

She went on to say, “EMYF aim to build a network around Europe involving NGOs, service providers, parents and youth, a network that can work together in identifying key priorities to work on within a European context. The forum does not want minimum standards; rather the forum strives for best practice in all areas relating to the rights of the child.”

The group have had early and on-going support from the Separated Children in Europe Programme.

Contact:

Caroline Reid caroline@irishrefugeecouncil.ie / +353 85 8585510

Notes to the Editor:

The Irish Refugee Council (IRC) is Ireland’s only national non-governmental organisation which specialises in working with and for refugees in Ireland. The main focus of our work is on those in the asylum system who are applying to be recognised as refugees.  For almost 20 years, we have observed the changes that have been made in response to the arrival of refugees in Ireland.  Based on extensive experience working directly with those affected, we have seen the huge financial cost of a failed system and the untold damage that has and is being done to men, women and children in the asylum process. The IRC is committed to promoting an asylum system that will be beneficial for refugees, the decision-maker, and the tax payer.

Prior to this formation the group have worked on a number of projects, the most recent of which was Seeking Asylum in Ireland: A Guide for Children and Young People. The guide provides insight to the asylum process for young people in Ireland and includes a video and a booklet for all users to explore and engage with the asylum process from a young person’s perspective.

Separated children are defined as children under 18 years of age who are outside their country of origin and separated from either parents, or their previous legal/customary primary caregiver.  The IRC acts as the Irish national focal point for the Separated Children in Europe (SCEP) Network. The IRC also runs an Independent Advocacy Programme, which centres on supporting separated children in finding their own voice by matching children with advocates who act as mentors.