SRSG welcomes publication of Guidelines on Children’s Reintegration

New York, 7 September 2016 - SRSG Santos Pais welcomes today’s launch of the Guidelines on Children’s Reintegration, which provide guidance for the safe and effective reintegration of children into their families and communities, guided by international human rights standards and the best interests of the child. 

Growing up in a family environment is every child’s fundamental right, a right that gains a special relevance for children in vulnerable situations, including children living in residential care, placed in detention centres or other institutions, exposed to street situations, affected by migration, trafficking or conflict, or those who become displaced and separated from their families as asylum seekers or refugees.
As noted by the SRSG in her foreword to the Guidelines, “comprehensive guidance on what needs to be done has been lacking. As a result, policies are often not coherent, programming practice is of variable quality, and investment in reintegration has been inadequate. These guidelines are a valuable tool to overcome these challenges, to promote a caring family environment and enhance the protection of children.”

The Guidelines address many crucial dimensions of separated children’s reintegration back into their families, including the need to make reuniting families the first priority, to provide holistic responses for children and families in need, to ensure respect for children’s right to be heard, and to prevent and address any risk of violence, manifested through neglect, abuse or exploitation, both in and outside the context of emergencies. 

The Guidelines support the realization of the vision set out in the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, which includes a commitment to provide children with a nurturing environment for the full realisation of their rights and capabilities and also a specific target - 16.2 - to end all forms of violence against children, leaving no child behind.

“The noble vision of Agenda 2030 is a world free from fear and violence for all children. However, there are millions of children who are already left behind, including those pushed apart from their families by poverty, conflict or lack of access to schooling close to home. These children may be forced to migrate for work, or live alone on the streets, and many languish for years in institutional care. Reuniting children their families can provide them with critical protection from violence and abuse, which is why every effort must be made to make safe and effective reintegration a priority,” SRSG Santos Pais said.

“I hope these important Guidelines will be widely shared and taken up at all levels of government and civil society thus helping to realise the vision of a world where every child grows up safe in a supportive family environment and free from violence.” 

The Guidelines on Children’s Reintegration are the fruit of the collaboration and combined expertise of over 60 national and international NGOs and UN agencies.