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Better protection needed for migrant children in Denmark

24/03/2014

Better protection needed for migrant children in Denmark
Nils Muižnieks 

Strasbourg, 24/3/2014 – “The best interests of the child are not always upheld in the context of asylum and immigration in Denmark. The Danish authorities should improve the protection they provide to migrant children, by ensuring full respect of their rights” said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in releasing the report on his visit to Denmark carried out on 19-21 November 2013.

In spite of positive changes introduced in 2012, further progress is needed, in particular to ensure that family reunification proceedings involving children are dealt with in a positive and humane manner. “This includes extending the right to family reunification to children older than 14, so as to comply with the definition of a child provided in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child”. The Commissioner also stressed that the best interests of the child should prevail over their integration potential, or the integration potential of their parents.

The Commissioner is also alarmed by the impact that life in asylum centres for indefinite periods of time has on children belonging to families of rejected asylum-seekers whose deportation order cannot be implemented. “Even though the material living conditions are adequate, many of these children suffer from psycho-social disorders and other developmental problems due to long-term uncertainty. This situation can hardly be reconciled with the right to a standard of living adequate for the child's development”.  The Commissioner also calls for effective investigation into the fate of unaccompanied minor migrants who have disappeared from reception centres and for measures to protect children victims of trafficking and to prevent further disappearances. (more…)

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