Parliamentary Committees and Public Enquiries
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Government responds to unaccompanied migrant children report

The Government has responded to the report of the EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee on Children in crisis: unaccompanied migrant children in the EU.

Background

The Committee's report considered whether existing EU provisions for unaccompanied migrant children are sufficiently clear and enforceable, and what further measures are needed to address the nature and scale of the problems they face. The Committee's main conclusions included:

  • Collectively, EU Member States are failing to comply with their obligations under EU and international law to receive and protect children in a manner that recognises their specific vulnerability
  • Age disputes have significant consequences for children's lives, and there is clear evidence that children have been placed in unsuitable conditions on the basis of a mistaken age assessment. Where doubt exists, authorities should observe their legal obligation to give young people claiming to be children the benefit of the doubt
  • The UK Government should develop, apply and routinely monitor national guidance on how to conduct best interests assessments with regard to unaccompanied minors
  • Further EU action on unaccompanied migrant children should focus on the implementation of those priorities of the 2010-2014 Action Plan which have not yet been achieved.

A debate was held on 1 November 2016, during which Baroness Williams of Trafford responded on behalf of the Government.

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