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EMN inform provides an overview on accompanied children’s right to be heard in international protection procedures

25 April 2023

Children who migrate with their parents face unique challenges and vulnerabilities. That's why it's crucial that their right to express their views is fully implemented in international protection procedures. This inform provides an overview of how the right of accompanied children to be heard is being implemented in EMN Member Countries and Norway. It includes good practices, challenges, and lessons learned.

Processing international protection applications for accompanied children can be challenging, as there may be conflicting interests at play. In some cases, children may be reluctant to share certain information in front of their parents or responsible adults, or vice versa, parents may not want certain information to be disclosed by the child. This can be especially difficult in situations involving child abuse. It is therefore important to gain a better understanding of how accompanied children are heard in international protection procedures, as well as the regulations surrounding these procedures.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Article 24 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (CFR), and the EU asylum acquis emphasise the importance of considering the best interests of the child in all decisions involving children, including international protection procedures. Their consent is vital and expressing their views should be voluntary.

The inform Accompanied children's right to be heard in international protection procedures provides an overview of the implementation of the right of accompanied children to be heard in international protection procedures in the EMN Member Countries and Norway, and presents their challenges, good practices and lessons learned in guaranteeing that right.

A personal interview in the context of international protection procedures is generally granted to accompanied children by almost all EMN Member Countries and Norway. However, requirements and conditions vary from one country to another, e.g. age restrictions, parental and child consent.

In most countries, personal interviews are carried out by specialist staff trained to communicate with children in a language adapted to their age and maturity. Some countries also use non-verbal methods such as playing, drawing, and storytelling during the interview process.

The inform also highlights some challenges that EMN Member Countries and Norway are facing in guaranteeing the right of accompanied children to be heard. The challenges include the age limit requirements, national requirements for consent from parents or responsible adults, and a lack of trained staff and resources. Good practices include training staff to hear children, conducting interviews in child-friendly facilities and language, and deciding on a case-by-case basis whether a child should be heard.

EMN Coordinator for Slovakia

International Organization for Migration (IOM) – Office in the Slovak Republic

www.emn.sk | ↗ www.iom.sk
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EMN Coordinator for the EU

European Comission - Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs 

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