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Recommendation 2172 (2020)

Missing refugee and migrant children in Europe

Author(s): Parliamentary Assembly

Origin - Assembly debate on 30 January 2020 (8th Sitting) (see Doc. 15026, report of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, rapporteur: Ms Serap Yaşar; and Doc. 15032, opinion of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development, rapporteur: Lord Don Touhig). Text adopted by the Assembly on 30 January 2020 (8th Sitting).

1. Referring to its Resolution 2324 (2020) on missing refugee and migrant children in Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly emphasises the importance of preventing child refugees and migrants from going missing and of doing everything possible to find children who have gone missing, in order to avoid them falling victim to violence, abuse, human trafficking and organ trafficking.
2. While the Council of Europe does not take specific action in relation to missing refugee and migrant children, some of its bodies and instruments may be of added value in preventing the disappearance of these children. Therefore, the Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers:
2.1. invite the States Parties to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (CETS No. 197) and the States Parties to the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (CETS No. 201) to share national experience in preventing the disappearance of child refugees and migrants in the context of human trafficking or sexual exploitation;
2.2. invite the States Parties to the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (ETS No. 30) to consider co-ordinated strategies for mutual assistance and the exchange of information concerning missing refugee and migrant children as well as unidentified dead children, for instance by making use of Interpol’s Yellow and Black Notices and the Schengen Information System;
2.3. recognising the work of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, especially its Resolution 428 (2018) and Recommendation 414 (2018) “Unaccompanied refugee children: the role and responsibilities of local and regional authorities”, encourage the Congress to continue addressing this issue as well as that of migrant street children as set out in its Resolution 271 (2008) on the social reintegration of children living and/or working on the streets, especially in relation to measures to prevent children going missing;
2.4. invite the Steering Committee for the Rights of the Child (CDENF) to examine policies to prevent the disappearance of migrant children in the context of its work on guardianship and its review of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)9 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on life projects for unaccompanied migrant minors.
3. Recognising the concrete action to protect children fleeing war, violence and persecution carried out in the framework of the Council of Europe Action Plan on Protecting Refugee and Migrant Children in Europe (2017-2019), the Assembly commends the special focus given by the plan to unaccompanied children. It therefore asks the Committee of Ministers to give high priority to the evaluation and follow-up to the action plan, and to support the promotion and use of the tools developed within its framework. Renewed priority should be given to this area, to ensure continuity with the work already achieved.