S&Ds: we cannot tolerate detention of unaccompanied migrant children

Migrant children

The S&D Group is deeply concerned by the Commission’s remarks that it remains open to the detention of unaccompanied migrant children in special child detention centres. In 2015 alone, over 96,000 unaccompanied children applied for asylum in the EU. Allegedly, 10,000 unaccompanied migrant children are currently missing in the EU. The S&D position on this is therefore clear: the detention of migrant children is unacceptable and should not be excused by the Commission under any circumstances.

S&D Group spokesperson for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, Birgit Sippel said:

"The option of detaining unaccompanied migrant children should be excluded from any EU strategy as a matter of principle. This kind of detention goes against the fundamental rights of these children, as well as basic EU values. Given that fear of detention maybe a contributing factor in the disappearance of migrant children, the Commission and Member States need to urgently change course.”

S&D Group Spokesperson Caterina Chinnici for the Parliament’s Intergroup of children added:

“The unaccompanied children who have crossed the Mediterranean are among the most vulnerable people on earth. The current lack of protection afforded to them is a huge tragedy in the wider tragedy of the refugee crisis. We are calling on the Commission to protect the fundamental rights of these children, as guaranteed in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Specifically, all detention of children because of migrant status must end; family reunification and relocation procedures must be strengthened; the appointment of guardian figures must be sped up; and access to education and psychosocial support must be ensured.”