Unaccompanied migrant children and child migration from a child rights perspective

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Ramsak, Anita
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This paper focuses on the situation of the unaccompanied migrant children and child migration. It explains and endorses a child rights-based approach to child migration, as opposed to approach primarily guided by migration legislation policies and their law enforcement concerns. Furthermore, it outlines specific obligations of the state enshrined in the Convention on the rights of the child, to protect unaccompanied migrant children and promote their rights. The paper further presents a brief overview of other international and regional instruments with the potential to protect the rights of the unaccompanied migrant children. The case study of Belgium aims to analyse the gaps in the protection offered to unaccompanied migrant children, with explicit reference to three rights: the rights to education and vocational training, the protection from involuntary return, and the right to participation. The latter right emphasizes the importance of the role of the views of the child in all aspects of protection. The paper concludes that although several positive steps have been taken, shortcomings remain in all areas of the above mentioned rights. The paper further explores how the gaps could be potentially solved by combining positive aspects of Belgium system with good elements of protection that already exist in other countries. The paper concludes with the set of recommendations and a list of elements that has been identified as necessary for the comprehensive protection of the unaccompanied migrant children.
Second semester University: University of Vienna
asylum seekers, Belgium, children, child labour, children rights, Convention on the Rights of the Child