Two complementary joint general comments on the human rights of children in the context of international migration were launched this week by the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, and the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Read the Joint General Comments here.
Effectively, these General Comments provide authoritative guidance that immigration detention is a child rights violation.
Every Member State in the UN, except for the United States of America, have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, so this General Comment applies broadly to the vast majority of Member States.
The comments emphasise that children should never be detained for reasons related to their or their parents’ migration status and States should expeditiously and completely cease or eradicate the immigration detention of children. The Committees also clarified the reason the principle of ‘last resort’ does not apply to children in the context of migration.
The launch took place on 16 April 2018 from 3:00 to 5:00 pm at Palais des Nations in Conference Room XII.
Ms. Pinar Aksu, a Youth Advocate from the Global Campaign to End Child Immigration Detention featured as one of the speakers at the event. She shared her experience of being detained at 14 years old for over two months when her family sought asylum in the UK.
“We were treated as criminals. Governments may use different words to make these policies sound acceptable, however it is the same as if I was being deprived of my liberty without cause… As a child at the time, I saw many things that no child should see…” said Ms. Aksu.
Other panellists included:
- Pablo Ceriani, Former Vice-Chair of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
- Benyam Dawit Mezmur, Member of the Committee on the Rights of the Child
- Laurent Chapuis, Regional Advisor Migration, UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia
- Jill Helke, Director, Department of International Cooperation and Partnerships, IOM
- Anne Dussart, Caritas Internationalis Belgium
- Pinar Aksu, Global Campaign to End Child Immigration Detention Advocate
The joint general comments aim to contribute to improving the protection of the human rights of children which are, in the context of international migration, in a particular situation of vulnerability. Specific goals of these general comments include elaborating for State Parties and other key stakeholders guidelines for developing migration, childhood and related policies aimed at protecting and realizing the rights of children in the context of international migration.
Read the program for the event here.
See the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Statement on the Launch here.