Children on the move

On December, 2018 UN Member States adopted the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration  and affirmed the Global Compact on Refugees in the annual resolution on the work of UNHCR . Both Global Compacts recognize the dignity and worth of the human person and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family; as well as the right to freedom of movement and the right to seek and enjoy asylum and safeguard of their human rights in other countries.

Guided by the  International Bill of Human Rights and other international standards such the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, the 1957 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, the Global for Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees provide crucial guidance for governments’ actions to safeguard the rights of every child under their jurisdiction, including the 36.1  million migrant children  and refugee children who make up half of the refugee population around the world.

“In recent years, the number of people forced to leave their communities has grown by more than 50%, often as a result of violence, poverty, persecution or conflict. This situation has a serious impact on children. They are at high risk of violence, neglect, abuse and exploitation, military recruitment throughout their journey, especially those who travel unaccompanied or separated from their families,” said SRSG-VAC Santos Pais. “But children often do not even feel safe when they reach the end of their journey. While their fate is being decided, children may endure humiliation, bullying, physical attacks and sexual abuse and fail to benefit from the protection they are entitled to and that they desperately need,” she added

The right of every child to safety and protection does not cease when they are compelled to move into a different jurisdiction. In fact, States must guarantee that children on the move are never separated from their families, are not deprived of liberty and that they are entitled to the continuum of the protection to their human rights. With the universal imperative to protect children from harm recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and reiterated by the Global Compact for Migration, the Global Compact on Refugees, as well as by the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and its target 16.2 that calls for the elimination of all forms of violence against children - important commitments have been made and States have clear guidance for action.

Resources

SRSG Annual Report to the UN General Assembly 2018 A/72/275

Regional consultation on children on the move Mexico 2017 - Concept note Programme  More information SRSGVAC Statement

Opinion Poll on Children and Young People’s Perception of Children on the Move – migrant and refugee children conducted by the Office of the SRSG on Violence against Children and UNICEF U-Report -

Poll U-Report Global 

Summary total number of respondents

Child-friendly publication 

In 2017, the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families adopted two Joint General Comments regarding the safeguard of the rights of children in the context of international migration.  This child friendly publication was developed jointly with Save the Children and presents the principles and strategic actions highlighted by the two UN Committees to promote and protect the rights of international migrant children. Child friendly publication “My rights travel with me. I am a migrant boy or girl. These are my rights” “Mis derechos viajan conmigo. Soy un niño o niña migrante, estos son mis derechos” (Spanish)

International standards applicable to migrant, displaced and refugee children

International Bill of Human Rights - Download

Convention on the Rights of the Child - Download

Committee on the Rights of the Child General Comment N°6 Treatment of Unaccompanied and Separated Children outside their country of origin - CRC/GC/2005/6

Relevant international standards on migration

New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants - Download

Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration - Download

International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families - Download

Joint General Comment N°3 (2017) of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their families and N° 22 (2017) of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on the general principles regarding the human rights of children in the context of international migration - CMW/C/GC/3-CRC/C/GC/22

Joint general comment No. 4 (2017) of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families and No. 23 (2017) of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on State obligations regarding the human rights of children in the context of international migration in countries of origin, transit, destination and return* - CMW/C/GC/4-CRC/C/GC/23

Relevant international Standards on refugees

Convention relating to the Status of Refugees - Download

Protocol to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees - Download

New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants - Download

Global Compact on Refugees - Download

UNHCR’s Executive Committee Conclusion on Children at Risk - Download

The 2030 Agenda and children on the move 

The 2030 Agenda recognizes migration as a key dimension of sustainable development, including references to migration and decent work, protection from forced labor and the need of promoting safe migration, the urgency of reducing cost of remittances and the imperative of collecting disaggregated data on migration. SDGs targets 8.8, 10.7, 10.c and 17.18 specifically address migration as a key dimension of sustainable development. 

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Regional standards 

Africa

Migration Policy Framework for Africa and Plan of Action 2018-2030 - Download

African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

Decision on the communication submitted by the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa and the Open Society Justice Iniatiative (on behalf of children of Nubian descent in Kenya) against the Government of Kenya - Download

Americas

Cartagena Declaration on Refugees - Download

Brazil Declaration and Plan of Action on Refugees - Download

Organization of American States

Inter American Program on Migrants - Download

Inter American Court of Human Rights 

Advisory Opinion of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on the rights and guarantees of children in the context of migration Download

MERCOSUR

Regional guide to ensure the special protection of children on the move - Download

UN Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan - Download

Europe

Council of Europe 
•    Action Plan on Protecting Refugee and Migrant Children in Europe (2017-2019) - Download