Detention of Unaccompanied Migrant Children in the European Union and the Principle of the Best Interest of the Child

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201508063119
Title: Detention of Unaccompanied Migrant Children in the European Union and the Principle of the Best Interest of the Child
Author: Vigil Nolasco, Damarys A.
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law
Publisher: Helsingfors universitet
Date: 2014
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201508063119
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/135320
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: International law
Kansainvälinen oikeus
Folkrätt
Abstract: Detention of unaccompanied migrant children has become a more and more common practice among EU member states and therefore it is important to study if this practice is consistent with the rights enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The purpose of the present research is to establish if detention as such can be considered as being in the best interest of the child. In order to approach this problem, the main research question is whether EU migration directives and the practice of the EU Member States are compatible with the principle of the best interest of the child flowing from the CRC, with a particular focus on unaccompanied migrant children. In order to answer this question I have structured the thesis as follows: In chapter two I analyze the CRC and specifically the principle of the best interest of the child as well as its scope. The principle in conjunction with article 37 of the CRC is of vital importance for the thesis as this article specifically refers to the issue of detention of minors. I will look at whether the Convention is able to protect children adequately, in terms of its internal coherence and the way how the rights of children are regulated. In chapter three I discuss the application of the CRC in the EU migration law. First I will look at the position the CRC takes in the EU treaties. Then I will proceed to a discussion of the EU law on migration and the best interest of the child, namely directives. Later on I describe my personal experience during a visit to a detention center in Finland and give my comments and recommendations about this visit. The conclusion in chapter three shows that despite it would seem like detention is not consistent with the principle of the best interest of the child. Nevertheless, when applied in an appropriate manner and as prescribed by the law and in the respect of all the safeguards given by international law and directives, it is a practical solution to the issue of unaccompanied minor migrant children.


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