Dublin Hosts European Conference on Durable Solutions for Separated Children in Europe

Posted On: 13 November 2015

Media Release, 13 November 2015

Today, Ireland will host a one day conference exploring durable solutions for young people who find themselves in a new country without their parents or legal guardian and in need of international protection. The pan European project, which has led to this conference, examines best practice in determining and implementing durable solutions for separated or unaccompanied minors, and to design a process for determining a durable solution which safeguards their rights and best interests, based on the findings in nine EU countries.

After recent news reports on the dangers and exploitation facing young refugees moving through Europe this conference and project is both timely and relevant. Young people are arriving to Europe without familiar supports, such as family or community, and Europe’s response needs to reflect its obligation and commitment to uphold and protect the rights of all children.

Samantha Arnold, Children’s and Young Person’s Officer with the Irish Refugee Council said,

“A durable solution is a sustainable solution that ensures that an unaccompanied or separated child, or any child on the move, is able to develop into adulthood, in a safe and secure environment which will meet his or her needs and fulfil his or her rights.”

Determining a durable solution should be seen as a process that involves many actors and one that may require periodic review and revision to make sure any decisions continue to be in the best interests of the child.

Ms Arnold went on to say,

“Children need support and consistency in order to overcome traumatic experiences, but children also have the right to be heard and have their views taken into account when determining their best interests.”

“A vital part of this project was the involvement of young people in the process. To talk about children and young people’s rights you need to listen to them and engage them if you are to truly reach durable solutions for them.”


The Durable Solutions Conference runs from 9.15am today at the Royal Marine Hotel Dun Laoghaire. A number of international and national guest speakers will explore issues relating to separated children and the pathway to finding durable solutions that safeguard their rights and ensure their protection in Ireland and across Europe.




Caroline Reid, Communications Officer,  085 8585510


List of speakers bios available here

Keynote speaker is Professor Jacqueline Bhabha

The following European Union Member States participated: Belgium, Cyprus, England, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands and Slovakia

National Country Reports

This project is funded through the European Commission’s Pilot Project on Unaccompanied Minors

Main recommendations

  • A need for a holistic, multi-disciplinary approach considering all rights and needs including protection a merging of the traditionally siloed care and immigration procedures
  • Status decisions need to be made as soon as possible before turning eighteen to promote positive development and access to rights through:
      • ensuring access to education and reducing the likelihood that it will be interrupted
      • ensuring access to immediate and on-going medical and mental health services
      • ensuring continuity of care
      • facilitating family reunification where possible and in the best interests of the child & reducing the time spent separated
      • ensuring that young people can plan for their futures and be supported to do so and
      • re-establishing normality

Not having a status decision puts all other aspects of the durable solution in flux