The European Forum on the rights of the child is an annual conference organised by the European Commission. It gathers key actors from EU Member States, international organisations, NGOs, Ombudspersons for children, practitioners, academics and EU institutions to promote good practice on the rights of the child.
Held in Brussels November 7 – 8, this year marked the 11th European Forum on the rights of the child, and it focused on Children deprived of their liberty and alternatives to detention.
IDC had a delegation attending, including the coalition’s Advocacy Coordinator Silvia Gomez, Senior Child Rights Advisor Melanie Teff, Youth Advocate Pinar Aksu and Youth Advocate Gholam Hassanpour.
All 193 Member States of the UN have committed to working towards ending child immigration detention in the New York Declaration. Recently a Joint General Comment provided authoritative guidance on the interpretation of the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and, as such, apply to all State Parties of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and /or the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. It reinforces and further clarifies that immigration detention is a child rights violation.
More work on developing alternatives urgently needs to be undertaken in the EU, in partnership with civil society. While many positive messages about moving towards ending immigration detention of children were shared at the forum, some states and the European Commission continued to justify immigration detention of children stating that the best interests of children must be balanced with the EU’s interests in migration management.
Melanie Teff, Senior Child Rights Advisor at IDC, moderated the session on immigration detention of children