This UNICEF submission focuses on challenges to children’s right to family life in the context of international migration. It briefly analyses the main CRC provisions and standards that directly or indirectly protect children’s right to family life, and how this right affects the situation of children and families in the context of migration. The core principles of the Convention – the best interest of the child, non-discrimination, the right to life and development, and the right to participation and being heard – are stressed throughout this analysis.
The paper goes on to analyse how children’s right to family life is respected or violated in the context of migration laws, policies and practices, in accordance with differing interpretations and applications of the CRC. Particular focus is placed on key migration law enforcement mechanisms that decisively impact family life: deportation, detention, family reunification and regularisation. The analysis demonstrates that if migration policies were to adequately consider children’s right to family life, not only would the harms resulting from detention be avoided, but the rights violations ensuing from deportation would also be averted. The same is true of policies affecting the granting of residence on the basis of the right to family life, as currently takes place in many States.