The protection of unaccompanied migrant minors in Europe (own-initiative opinion)

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EGSZB-vélemény: The protection of unaccompanied migrant minors in Europe (own-initiative opinion)

Key points

The EESC:

  • is concerned about the situation of unaccompanied minors, one of the most vulnerable migrant groups;
  • recommends that the principle of "the best interests of the child" should take precedence over all other national and international law;
  • calls on the European Union to develop a coherent and uniform approach to protecting unaccompanied foreign minors in Europe;
  • urges the European Commission to draw up a Directive on the protection of unaccompanied minors that serves the best interests of the child;
  • reiterates its request to the Member States to ensure that undocumented migrant children are protected first and foremost as children;
  • calls on the Member States to prevent any form of violence against migrant children by creating safe, legal and regular migration paths;
  • points out that detention of children, regardless of their administrative status, is absolutely prohibited and condemns this practice in the strongest terms;
  • points out that every unaccompanied minor must be supported by a qualified guardian;
  • notes that a young person who presents themselves as a minor must be considered a minor until a final court ruling has been delivered;
  • calls on the Member States to evaluate minority based on a body of evidence, but calls for bone age tests to be stopped, given that such tests are not reliable;
  • intends to conduct a series of follow-up studies on specific sub-themes given the difficulty of covering all the issues and rules relevant to unaccompanied minors in the present opinion.