30 November 2015 – From 11 – 12 November, European and African Heads of State gathered for the Valletta summit on migration in an effort to strengthen cooperation and address the current challenges and opportunities of migration.

Leaders participating in the summit adopted and agreed on a political declaration and action plan for cooperation designed to:

  1. address the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement
  2. enhance cooperation on legal migration and mobility
  3. reinforce the protection of migrants and asylum seekers
  4. prevent and fight irregular migration, migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings
  5. work more closely to improve cooperation on return, readmission and reintegration

Leaders also announced sixteen priority initiatives to be launched before the end of 2016.

In the lead up to the Valletta summit, 59 organisations, including UNICEF, OHCHR, PICUM, and the IDC sent a joint open letter addressed to the European Council, EU institutions and Member States calling for the full protection of children’s rights in migration policies and practices.

The International Detention Coalition and the IDC’s Global Campaign to End Child Detention were signatories to the letter which highlights the need to limit trends towards increased use of immigration detention, and in particular, to resource alternatives to detention which protect the rights and liberty of children and their families.

The Letter also includes a 10-Point Action Plan calling for the best interests principle to be a paramount consideration in all decisions concerning children, including in returns, relocation and integration policies.

For more information on the Valetta summit including background documents, click here.