While the EU is seeking to harmonise its asylum policies through the completion of a Common European Asylum System, the situation of unaccompanied children seeking asylum proves to be another example of the discrepancies between Member states’ policies and practices, a study comparative study coordinated by France terre d’asile has found. 10,295 unaccompanied children requested asylum in the EU in 2010. Separeted children have specific needs and are particularly vulnerable. However, the study found that those needs are not always taken into account and that children have to face many obstacles from their arrival in the country to the end of the asylum procedure.

The study highlights worrying trends such as unaccompanied children not applying for asylum because of complex and lengthy procedures and the Dublin II regulation not always being applied in the best interest of the child. Receptions conditions are also qualified as “unsatisfactory”, while a number of States still detain unaccompanied children. Furthermore, the treatment of the application and the decision process include few child-friendly specificities.

The study also identifies some good practices to encourage other States to improve their policy. In France, for instance, an identification and orientation centre offers specifically adapted legal and psychological assistance.

The authors have launched an appeal for a European policy adapted to unaccompanied children. The appeal will be translated in different languages and open to signatures from NGOs across Europe.

For further information:

France Terre d’Asile, Right to asylum for unaccompanied minors in the European Union (synthesis)

Le Nouvel Observateur, Après la guerre, la galère des mineurs demandeurs d’asile dans l’UE

Le Monde, L’accueil des mineurs demandeurs d’asile « insatisfaisant » dans l’UE

Libération, Mineurs isolés en Europe: le grand désordre

La Croix, Comment améliorer le sort des mineurs étrangers isolés ?

Source: European Council on Refugees and Exiles: weekly bulletin, http://www.ecre.org/media/news/weekly-bulletin.html

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