Protecting unaccompanied children poses a major challenge in Europe, says new report

Date: 12th July 2017
Category: Other human rights treaties and mechanisms

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has released its Fundamental Rights report 2017 which includes recommendations on child poverty, social exclusion and protecting unaccompanied children.

The report covers topics such as equality and non-discrimination, asylum and migration, privacy and data protection and access to justice. A chapter has been dedicated to exploring the rights of the child in Europe which highlights three significant child's rights issues:

  • Child poverty
  • Protecting rights of children accused or suspected of crimes
  • Protecting unaccompanied children

The report states that child poverty rates improved marginally across Europe between 2014 and 2015. However, there is still significant variation across EU countries in the rate of children at risk of poverty. The FRA recommends that:

"The EU should place more emphasis on comprehensively addressing child poverty and social exclusion in the European Semester - making better use of the 2013 European Commission recommendation - as well as in upcoming initiatives, such as the European Pillar of Social Rights. This could include focusing attention in the European Semester on those EU Member States where child poverty rates remain high and unchanged in recent years."

The report also raises concerns over the number of unaccompanied migrant children arriving in Europe as they are at increased risk of exploitation or abuse. In order to ensure these children receive the special protection that they need, the report advises that "EU Member States should ensure that child protection systems and guardianship authorities have an increased role in asylum and migration procedures involving children".