UNICEF Statement on European Council meeting on migration

Attributable to UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, and Special Coordinator for the Refugee and Migrant Response in Europe, Ms. Afshan Khan

28 June 2018

GENEVA, 28 June, 2018 – “As Member States meet to discuss the EU migration policy, UNICEF is urging the European Union and its Member States to take concerted, united and timely action to save the lives of refugee and migrant children before they reach Europe, and address the uncertainty and insecurity they endure on arrival.

“A well-managed and predictable European disembarkation mechanism could save children’s lives, fast-track asylum procedures and improve access to essential services and due processes, including legal aid and appeal procedures.  

“Disembarkation centres must be open facilities providing first reception, fast processing and accessible and effective access to onward placement of children and families. This should go hand in hand with investment in local child protection systems to assist new arrivals.

“Children should never be detained due to their or their parents’ immigration status. Unaccompanied children should be immediately appointed with a guardian and reunited with their families if appropriate. The best interests of every child must be paramount.

“UNICEF is urging the EU and the African Union to commit to and implement a plan for refugee and migrant children, that makes them safer and ensures leaders are working toward solutions that address root causes of migration.

“UNICEF stands ready to support the EU and its Member States in their efforts.”

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Learn more about UNICEF’s Agenda for Action for Refugee and Migrant Children.

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