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Child Rights in the Global Compacts: Recommendations for protecting, promoting and implementing the human rights of children on the move in the proposed Global Compacts

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Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts

This working document by the Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts, a multilateral initiative supported by 26 organizations, sets out what protection and inclusion measures should entail with respect to six priority issues involving refugee and migrant children (sometimes referred to collectively as “children on the move”) and what provisions it would consequently be appropriate to include in the two Global Compacts. The six issues are:

  1. Non-discrimination; 
  2. Best interests of the child;
  3. Child protection;
  4. Child immigration detention;
  5. Access to services for refugee and migrant children; and
  6. Sustainable solutions in children’s best interests.

These issues were selected because of their importance for refugee and migrant children and the commitments affecting them made in the New York Declaration, as well as other binding and soft law obligations in international law, particularly the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Each of these issues is presented in a separate section, opening with a summary of relevant information and references to existing commitments by States, notably those set out in international law and soft law instruments. Respect for the rights of all children, whether nationals or non-nationals, should underpin the provisions in the Global Compacts that affect children. States should ensure children’s right to be heard and take into account gender-related issues, both in the context of actions and decisions affecting an individual refugee or migrant child, as well as in the broader context of adopting laws, policies and practices affecting children.

Each section contains one or more examples of how international standards have been put into practice in a particular State or region, based on information and examples contributed by international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) engaged in protecting and supporting refugee and migrant children. Each section concludes with one or more goals relating to the rights of refugee and migrant children that are proposed for the Global Compacts. Specific targets are proposed for achieving these goals, supported by indicators to allow progress to be monitored. 

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