To mark World Children’s Day, the European Child Rights' Helpdesk is publishing its reflection paper on "Putting children's rights at the heart of decision-making in cases involving children on the move: gathering momentum in Europe".

Across the countries covered by the European Child Rights Helpdesk, our partners, including the Irish Refugee Council, are assisting children on the move to and through Europe, and the professionals working to support them, to secure their rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), adopted on November 20, 1989. 

These children may be in Europe with their families or separated from them, seeking international protection, reunification with their families, opportunities for education or work, and some may arrive as victims of trafficking in human beings. 

In this paper, the European Child Rights Helpdesk partners share case experience and key developments in their countries.  We identify four foundation stones to ensure a robust and fair system of decision making to fulfil the rights of children on the move.

This paper presents our common agenda for change to ensure a robust and fair system that takes the rights of children on the move into account in administrative and judicial proceedings.  We provide our recommendations on how the EU can play an important role in gathering momentum for progress, in particular through the ongoing reform of the European migration and asylum system and the upcoming EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child.

Our aim in this reflection paper is to contribute to and encourage the Europe-wide dialogue on achieving progress among policy makers, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and international governmental organisations (IGOs), practitioners and academics.  We look forward to continuing to share our experience and work collectively towards progress for children in 2021 and beyond.

European Child Rights Helpdesk, November 20, 2020

The European Child Rights Helpdesk partners include organizations providing legal information and assistance to children on the move and professionals supporting them in Belgium (Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen), Greece (Greek Council for Refugees, ARSIS- Association for the Social Support of Youth, European Lawyers in Lesvos), Ireland (Irish Refugee Council), Italy (Defence for Children Italy), the Netherlands (Defence for Children - ECPAT Netherlands), Poland (Association for Legal Intervention - SIP), Sweden (Swedish Refugee Law Centre) as well as Child Circle, a centre of expertise on child rights and EU child protection measures.

The European Child Rights Helpdesk benefits from funding from Dutch National Postcode Lottery and is coordinated by Defence for Children- ECPAT Netherlands.