Childhood lost at sea : detention of irregular minors in the Mediterranean European Union

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Borghi, Paola
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Dealing with the immigration phenomenon in Europe, the particular question of foreign minors in detention constitutes a real challenge in the European effort to combine migration containment with human rights standards. This study elaborates on the law and the practices regulating administrative detention of irregular minors at the European Union Southern maritime borders. The European Union framework and the specific case of Italy and Greece are analysed in the light of the international human rights protection against minors’ detention. The study focuses on the whole range of children’s human rights involved: protection against arbitrary detention, procedural rights, right to family life, to health, education and leisure. The main intention is to evaluate the effective value according to the principle of the best interest of the child when it comes to migration control policies and practices. The following questions are addressed. Do international and regional human rights instruments offer a fully protective system against children’s detention? Do national legislations comply with international and regional human rights obligations? Do the real practices reflect the standards set in the law? Comparing the legal framework with its implementation in the reality foreign children face at the Mediterranean borders, it’s the means to identify the limits to be overstepped in order to control migration flows in the respect of the rights and dignity of all children.
Second semester University: Panteion University, Athens
children, Greece, Italy, migrants