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29 July 2016
Separated children are being systematically let down by the EU and its Member States. This is one of the main conclusions of a report entitled 'Children in crisis: unaccompanied migrant children in the EU', published by the European Union Committee of the House of Lords on Tuesday 26 July.
In March 2016, the House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee, chaired by Baroness Prashar, had launched an inquiry into separated children in the EU. SCEP has submitted written evidence to this Committee and has provided reliable data on the number, age, gender, and nationality of separated children in the EU and information on the reception, protection and the integration of these children.The House of Lords' report refers to this written evidence.
Separated children: somebody else's problem?
The report shows that there is a reluctance among Member States to share the burden of caring for separated children residing in the EU. Furthermore, the report highlights the failure by Member States to fully implement existing EU measures intended to protect these children. Separated children do no longer have faith in national authorities and because of this, many of them risk becoming a victim of trafficking.
Call for an independent guardianship system and a stronger focus on durable solutions
The report of the European Union Committee of the House of Lords calls for an independent guardianship system introducing minimum standards to ensure that decisions are taken in the best interest of a separated child. Furthermore, it is recommended that there must be a stronger focus across the EU on developing durable solutions. This focus must retain the principle of prioritising the child's best interests at its core.
The majority of European Member States do not have a guardianship system in place. SCEP is of the opinion that proper guardianship systems are essential to assist in finding a durable solution for separated children, whether that be integration into the host country, transfer to another country or return to the country of origin. SCEP endorses the 10 Core Standards for Guardians. The Core Standards are referred to in the FRA Handbook and a motion has been adopted at the Council of Europe which calls for the Core Standards to be used as a monitoring mechanism.