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Every year high numbers of separated children arrive in European countries. At the same time experience has shown that the treatment they receive upon and after arrival is, at best, not adequate and, at worst, potentially damaging.
The way in which these children are treated when arriving in Europe requires special attention in terms of protection care, particularly in the present climate of restrictive asylum and immigration practices.
The Separated Children in Europe Programme (SCEP) was established in 1997 and seeks to improve the situation of separated children through research, policy analysis and advocacy at the national and regional levels. A commitment to the full implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is fundamental to the work of SCEP. The CRC has been ratified by all countries within the Council of Europe and European Union. We believe that all the articles in the CRC are applicable to all separated children and must be the framework for all decisions affecting them.
A great strength of SCEP is the establishment of a European NGO network, comprising of at least one NGO member from each country. The goal for SCEP is to develop the SCEP NGO Network as a key European platform in the protection and promotion of the rights of separated children. SCEP has a regular communication, cooperation and exchange with the UNHCR Europe Bureau and UNHCR Focal Points.
The development of such a network is crucial if the issues are to be addressed effectively at the national and international level. Indeed having network partners in so many diverse countries enables SCEP to speak with almost unparalleled authority on the issues that affect separated children in Europe. The network also enables the exchange of information and experience on lobbying, provide a link with those giving direct support to individual children and assist in the gathering of information. Not least, SCEP aims to share good practice within our network of NGO partners by having network meetings and ongoing exchange of information and experiences.
The SCEP is led by a Steering Committee comprised of four representatives from the Network and the coordinator Defence for Children-the Netherlands.
Member organisations must:
• Demonstrate commitment to promoting children's rights
• Show a commitment to the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
• Adopt, and promote the programme's Statement of Good Practice
• Hold a relevant mission or vision statement