Accompanied children’s right to be heard in international protection procedures

The inform of the European Migration Network (EMN) “Accompanied children’s right to be heard in international protection procedures” provides an overview of how accompanied children’s right to be heard is implemented in the EMN Member States and Norway, including good practices, problems and lessons learned.

Accompanied children are those who arrive in the territory of the Member States with their parents or an adult who is responsible for them and provides child care either in accordance with the law or the practice of the EU Member State concerned.

Children who migrate with their parents face unique challenges and vulnerabilities. It is therefore essential that their right to express their views is fully exercised in international protection procedures. In 2021, about 190,000 applications for international protection were submitted for minors, the majority of whom were accompanied children.

Examining applications for international protection for accompanied children can be particularly difficult. In some cases, children may be reluctant to share certain information in front of parents or adults responsible for them, or vice versa, parents may not want certain information to be revealed by the child.

Personal interviews with accompanied children in the context of international protection procedures are usually provided in almost all EMN Member States and Norway. However, the requirements and conditions vary from country to country, including age limits, parental and child’s consent, and considerations regarding the maturity of the child. In the inform it is possible to explore various challenges as well as good practices.

Best interests of the child (BIC) – A threefold concept which includes a substantive right, a fundamental and interpretative legal principle and a rule of procedure that is aimed at ensuring the full and effective enjoyment of all the rights recognised in the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and of which the primary consideration is to ensure the holistic development of the child.

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