Children's Rights in Return Policy and Practice in Europe: A discussion paper on the return of unaccompanied and separated children to institutional reception or family

Every year thousands of unaccompanied or separated children enter the EU, creating challenges for European States to ensure that the children are given appropriate care and protection and have their rights respected in line with all international obligations. Simultaneously, States would like to increase the possibility of return for those children who are not granted a residence permit – return to either a guardian or ‘adequate reception’ of the origin country.

With this increased effort to return unaccompanied or separated children, UNICEF voices concern that protection gaps for children may be incurred. This discussion paper proposes specific consideration for governments on both sides of the return process, in order to waylay potentially far-reaching consequences of a rapid scale-up on returns.

Published 2015-04-01