Visiting places where children are deprived of their liberty as a result of immigration procedures - Guide for Parliamentarians (2018)
Ensure that policies and practices in place respect children's rights and the principle of the best interests of the child in the context of migration
Immigration detention is never in the best interest of a child. Yet, in Council of Europe member States, thousands of children wake up in immigration detention every day. The situation of these children is often out of sight and out of mind of Governments, lawmakers and the general public. The only way to bring immigration detention of children to an end is for policy makers to be fully aware and take action to change their policies and practices.
Parliamentarians have the power to make this happen. It is thus vital for them to be informed about the effects of immigration detention on children, in order to become effective advocates for the end of this practice. Visits by parliamentarians can also have important deterrent effects and reduce human rights violations in places of detention.
This guide aims to assist parliamentarians to monitor places where children are deprived of their liberty for immigration purposes, by providing information about how to plan such a visit, including useful guidance and checklists. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe launched a Parliamentary Campaign to end immigration detention of children, in order to strengthen the role of national parliaments in protecting and promoting the rights of migrant children in line with international and Council of Europe standards, and to promote positive and protective alternative practices to immigration detention. Taking a child rights’ approach, this guide complements the Parliamentary Assembly’s guide Visiting immigration detention centres, bringing an increased focus to the situation of children and the role of parliamentarians in this respect.
Table of contents:
SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM THE GENERAL RAPPORTEUR OF THE PARLIAMENTARY CAMPAIGN TO END IMMIGRATION DETENTION OF CHILDREN
FOREWORD BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
1. WHY SHOULD PARLIAMENTARIANS VISIT MIGRANT CHILDREN IN DETENTION? (VISIT RAISON D’ÊTRE)
2. MIGRANT CHILDREN SHOULD NOT BE DETAINED
a. International and European standards
b. Detention is damaging to children
c. Alternatives to detention
3. BASIC INFORMATION REGARDING THE DETENTION OF MIGRANT CHILDREN
a. How long are they detained?
b. Who detains them?
c. Why are they detained?
d. When and how detention takes place?
4. PREPARING A VISIT TO PLACES WHERE MIGRANT CHILDREN ARE HELD
a. Guiding principles
b. Preparation of the visit
c. Defining the objectives of the visit
d. Setting up the visiting team and organising the work
5. CARRYING OUT THE VISIT
a. What should you check in a detention centre where children are held for immigration purposes?
b. How to conduct interviews with children
6. FOLLOW UP TO THE VISIT
Annex 1: Children and detention: legal standards
Annex 2: Alternatives to detention
Annex 3: Reporting guidelines
Annex 4: Formula for an interview with a child
8. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY