This year, International Migrants Day takes place on December 18, marking the adoption of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
There are over 244 million migrants in the world today. One out of every six migrants is under the age of 20. Children also comprised more than half of the world’s 65.3 million refugees in 2015, statistics that are higher than at any time since UNHCR records began.
In recent years there has been growing acknowledgement that child immigration detention is never in the best interests of the child and constitutes a clear child rights violation.
This focus on child immigration detention comes at an important time. In his report In safety and dignity: addressing large movements of refugees and migrants, UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon highlighted that “children, as a matter of principle, [should never be] detained for purposes of immigration control” and provided the central recommendation that States should “consider alternatives to detention for purposes of immigration control and to adopt a commitment never to detain children for this purpose.”
Building on the Secretary General’s report, on 19 September all 193 Member States convened a High-Level Summit in New York and agreed to the New York Declaration, in which they committed to “work to end” the practice of child immigration detention. State leaders will now begin negotiating a series of “Global Compacts” to ensure the protection of fundamental rights in the context of global migration, including a particular focus on children and families.
The #MigrantRights Campaign seeks to build on this momentum by demonstrating the significant UN, regional and civil society support for States to take steps to promote and protect the rights of all refugee and migrant children, by ending the immigration detention of children as a matter of priority.
Through November and December, supporters of the #MigrantRights Campaign will take part in coordinated social media days of action and promote an online discussion which will take place on at 3pm (CET time) on December 16.
All members of the public are encouraged to join the discussion, submitting questions and hearing from experts on the issue of ending child detention. Register here.
The IDC is proud to be one of many civil society and UN supporters, including the the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Mr. François Crépeau.
We urge our Members and partners to join us in this important show of support for the rights of migrant, and child migrants in particular.
Visit the website: www.talkmigrantrights.org