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The legal status of unaccompanied children within international, European and national frameworks: Protective standards vs Restrictive implementation

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The PUCAFREU project involves conducting research into the situation of unaccompanied children living in the European Union space and staying unprotected outside the care and the control of State authorities.This document constitutes a first stage of the PUCAFREU project research process and proposes a theoretical and legal analysis of the legal treatment and status of unaccompanied migrant and asylum seeking children in different contexts and at different levels.
The first chapter of this document examines the contents of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and its interpretation of – and adequate implementation to – the situation of unaccompanied children. This chapter is divided in four main sections. In the second stage, those children’s rights are studied that are directly linked to the care and protection of unaccompanied children. The third section deals with durable solutions particularly focusing on those that are often implemented to unaccompanied children within the European context. Finally, the fourth section is devoted to other rights or contents of the United Nations Convention that are relevant to the unaccompanied children’s legal treatment and status.
Summing up, the contents of this document reflect an overview of the legal regulations concerning unaccompanied children at both international (United Nations, European Union and Council of Europe context) and national levels. These contents also identify some of the potential gaps and contradictions in legal regulations and constitute an ample basis from which to explore the probable root causes leading unaccompanied children living in the European Union space to refuse, abandon or be excluded from institutional care services and hence become unprotected

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