The CoR's Commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs adopted today with only one vote against the draft opinion on the Protection of children in migration by PES member Helene Fritzon, Member of Kristianstad Municipal Council (Sweden).
"Children in migration are a particularly vulnerable group and are all too often victims of extreme forms of violence, exploitation, trafficking and criminality, as well as of physical, psychological and sexual abuse. The number of children arriving in the EU in various types of migration situations has increased dramatically over recent years and an increasing numbers of them are unaccompanied. Therefore, we urgently need to come up with a comprehensive approach that will protect the universal rights of children, regardless of their status and this at all stages of migration", emphasised the rapporteur.
In her draft opinion, the rapporteur underlines the fact that local and regional authorities must be key partners in implementing and delivering the EU's strategy for protecting children in migration.
"The reception of asylum-seeking children takes place locally and it is in our cities and regions that the integration of children into society is managed through a series of services such as education, healthcare and housing", she explained. "The EU and the Member States must therefore develop targeted and locally adapted support in the form of funding, legislative and regulatory systems, as well as skilled support teams taking existing good practies into account", she emphasised.
The rapporteur also stresses that decisions regarding children in migration must be taken on the basis of the principle of a child's best interests, as defined in the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCHR). She therefore calls for better training opportunities and appropriate contact points, including a child protection ombudsman and professional guardians who protect the interests of uncompanied children.
"Children are Europe's future. If reception conditions are right, migrant children and young people can be given a good life as well as development opportunities in our society. A good reception process is therefore a long-term investment in welfare, democracy and human rights", she concluded.