Comparative Study on Practices in the Field of Return of Minors

This study on “best practices in the field of the return of minors” was carried out by ECRE, in strategic partnership with Save the Children, on behalf of the European Commission. The study looked at legislation and practice regarding the return of children, either unaccompanied or within families, who return voluntarily or are forced to return because of their status as illegally staying third country nationals. The study covered the 27 EU Member States and the 4 Schengen Associated States (Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland). Further research was also conducted in seven selected countries of return: Afghanistan, Angola, Kosovo, Morocco, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Ukraine. Information was gathered through research and interviews with relevant stakeholders involved in the return of children in all the countries covered as well as at the regional and supranational level. The aim of the study is to help Member States develop an effective system for how to consider the return of children to countries outside of the EU. The study does not aim to cover all dimensions of the return of children but focuses on key requirements as provided in the Return Directive. As indicated in the EU Action Plan for Unaccompanied Minors and the newly adopted EU Trafficking Directive, it places return as one option to be considered when Member States undertake to find durable solutions for unaccompanied children. Whilst the findings are not comprehensive, they allow for some comparisons and conclusions to be drawn on a regional level and they provide a basis for further analysis of each country‘s situation or focussed assessment of particular features of those practices.

Published 2012-01-24