Not in their best interests: our response to JCHR report - Refugee Council
June 12, 2013

Not in their best interests: our response to JCHR report

The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) today published a report of its inquiry into the human rights of unaccompanied migrant children.

The report makes recommendations based on its interpretation of the written and oral evidence, within a framework of children’s human rights. Its recommendations are grouped under headings including protection, support and upholding their rights.

The recommendations are focused on areas in which the committee believes improvements could be made to ensure that the UK is fully compliant with its obligations to protect the rights of children here without family members, many of whom are seeking asylum. They include issues such as appeal rights, age disputed young people, protection for victims of trafficking and legal advice.

The Refugee Council welcomes this independent scrutiny of the situation in which these children find themselves and broadly supports the recommendations made.

Policy Officer Judith Dennis said:

“We welcome this report and its focus throughout on the need to put the best interests of the child at the heart of all decision making. The government must make sure that all policies, practices and funding arrangements comply with this requirement.

The Refugee Council is pleased to see recommendations relating to all aspects of the separated child’s life and urges the government to consider the report very carefully and with a truly open mind.

We specifically stress the importance of changing the law to allow every separated child the same appeal right as all asylum seekers—the current situation is a disgrace.

The Refugee Council also believes that local authorities should be funded to provide appropriate support to all care leavers while they remain in the UK, as the current policy achieves nothing and causes misery and harm.”

The report can be found on the Committee’s website.

The transcript of oral evidence is on the Committee’s website.