Last June the Joint Committee on Human Rights published the report of its inquiry into the Human Rights of unaccompanied migrant children and young people in the UK. Called ‘In their best interests’, the report was welcomed by the Refugee Council as many of the recommendations reflected the issues we are concerned about. In our response, which can be read here, we urged the government to make the necessary policy and legal changes to ensure that children who arrive alone in the UK are adequately supported and protected.
The government finally produced its response today. It includes the announcement of two weeks ago that the government is to trial independent advocates for trafficked children and points us to draft statutory guidance relating to the care of children seeking asylum or who are trafficked. These are very definitely steps in the right direction, as is the commitment to ‘consider the case for establishing a Best Interests Determination process’. In response to the rest of the recommendations, the government deemed that no action was necessary.
In response, Policy Officer Judith Dennis said,
“The government appears to neither have been open minded about the recommendations nor addressed the concerns of this key parliamentary committee. The evidence to the Committee came from many sources and its report was comprehensive, well reasoned and focused on the needs of children and young people. If only the government had followed suit.”