• Unaccompanied migrant children are some of the most vulnerable in Europe, subject to detention and brutality, unable to access their rights to education, health care, or to seek asylum, and left without adequate legal protections in domestic legal systems throughout the continent.1 One might think that in Western Europe, where child mortality is close to zero, and social services and institutions well developed, children’s rights would be more secure. Not, however, when the children in question are unaccompanied migrants.

    All too often the thousands of unaccompanied children arriving without parents or caregivers find themselves trapped in their status as migrants, with European governments giving little consideration to their vulnerabilities and needs as children. Many end up without the humane treatment Europe claims to stand for. Instead they may face exploitation, prolonged detention, intimidation and abusive police behavior, registration and treatment as adults after unreliable age exams, bureaucratic obstacles to accessing education, and abuse when detained or housed in institutions.

    Read the publication, "Caught in a Net: Unaccompanied Migrant Children in Europe" through the link below.

    Caught in a Net - Unaccompanied Migrant Children in Europe

  • Apr 8, 2014
    France detains as many as 500 children who arrive in the country alone each year in transit zones at the borders, where they are denied the protection and due process rights afforded other unaccompanied children on French territory. Any unaccompanied child who arrives in France should be admitted to the country and provided with shelter and care while their immigration claims are decided.
  • Feb 22, 2014
    A coalition of 17 international humanitarian, human rights and peace groups welcome the unanimous UN Security Council resolution demanding safe and unhindered humanitarian access – including across conflict lines and across borders – to people in need throughout Syria.

Reports

  • Detention, Abuse, and Neglect of Migrant Children in Indonesia
  • Summary Returns of Unaccompanied Migrant Children and Adult Asylum Seekers from Italy to Greece
  • Adult and Child Migrants in Malta

Refugees and Migrants

  • Apr 10, 2014
    Last month I stood in a room at Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, talking to a scared refugee boy and sharing a box of cookies. Abid was alone in France, without a parent or a guardian. But was he really in France? I was on French soil. But according to the French government, Abid, 16, was not in the same country as I. And under that Kafkaesque legal fiction, they kept him locked up at the airport.
  • Apr 8, 2014
    France detains as many as 500 children who arrive in the country alone each year in transit zones at the borders, where they are denied the protection and due process rights afforded other unaccompanied children on French territory. Any unaccompanied child who arrives in France should be admitted to the country and provided with shelter and care while their immigration claims are decided.
  • Apr 1, 2014
  • Mar 21, 2014
    Human Rights Watch welcomes that Malta has, as discussed through the UPR process, made considerable steps since the previous UPR towards improving its reception system for asylum seekers, including by making asylum accessible and improving conditions of detention. Yet we deeply regret that Malta continues to subject migrants and asylum seekers arriving by boat to automatic detention. While there are currently some limited paths available to challenge detention in Malta, these are insufficient to meet Malta’s legal obligations to avoid arbitrary detention.
  • Feb 22, 2014
    A coalition of 17 international humanitarian, human rights and peace groups welcome the unanimous UN Security Council resolution demanding safe and unhindered humanitarian access – including across conflict lines and across borders – to people in need throughout Syria.
  • Jan 6, 2014
    Thailand’s government should urgently send ethnic Rohingya children from Burma and their families to safe and open family shelters. New research documents abuses by Thai authorities, who should take action against camps in southern Thailand used for trafficking Rohingya and punish officials complicit in abuse.
  • Dec 28, 2013
    Thanks to a ruling on December 13 from the European Court of Human Rights, thousands of mig­rants and asylum seekers arbitrarily detained in Malta each year may finally have a way to challenge their imprisonment.
  • Nov 26, 2013
    This week, millions will set out for Thanksgiving, a holiday that celebrates how refugees from religious persecution found freedom in a new land. I’ll be one of those traveling. Of course, I’ll be travelling legally, with the right paperwork. Most of us can't imagine how much harder it is to cross international borders if you can’t get your papers in order. Yet millions of people fleeing war and instability, or fearing persecution from their own government, don’t have the luxury of applying for passports and waiting for visas.
  • Nov 10, 2013
    Egypt has detained over 1,500 refugees from Syria, including at least 400 Palestinians and 250 children as young as two months old, for weeks and sometimes months. Security officials have acknowledged that the refugees will be held indefinitely until they leave the country.
  • Oct 14, 2013
    A special session could provide the Human Rights Council with an opportunity to ask a group of Special Procedures to develop guidelines on how to increase protection for migrants at sea and prevent violations of their rights. There are several grey areas in international law and its application to migrants at sea that would benefit from clarification by UN human rights experts.