Recommandation CM/REC(2007)9 of the Committee of Ministers to Member State on Life Projects for Unaccompanied Migrant Minors

How to promote the dignity of unaccompanied children, who find themselves alone, in a vulnerable situation, far from their home environment and separated from their parents?

About this Recommandation :

On 12 July 2007, and on the proposal of the European Committee on Migration (CDMG), the Committee of Ministers adopted Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)9 on life projects for unaccompanied migrant minors. The overall purpose of this recommendation is to promote respect for the human rights and dignity of unaccompanied children who find themselves alone and vulnerable, far from their family environment and separated from their parents or guardians. The recommendation seeks to achieve this objective in two ways. Firstly, the recommendation offers advice to governments of both member and non-member states of the Council of Europe on how they could improve their policy and practice in relation to the migration management of unaccompanied minors, particularly by strengthening the international co-operation between them. Secondly, the recommendation provides detailed advice on how relevant authorities can, through the development of life projects, contribute to improving the welfare of these children.

The approach of the recommendation is both political and practical. Its added value is to:
- firmly locate the best interest of the child at the centre of government policy solutions relating to unaccompanied migrant minors;
- encourage a holistic approach to the development of appropriate policy solutions that take full account of the entire migratory history of the unaccompanied minor, including the causes at the origin of his or her migration;
- encourage countries (destination, transit, origin) to look together at the problems related to unaccompanied migrant minors;

For the government experts who participated in the preparation of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)9, life projects offer a major innovative and positive alternative to migration management policies.

As a policy, life projects are conceived as a way of co-ordinating and orientating government action in respect of the rights of the unaccompanied children. They show how different government departments and services must work together, both at a national and local level but also with their counterparts in the child’s country of origin.

As individual tools, life projects must be, for their success, developed with the active involvement of the children themselves.

In the aftermath of this Recommandation, a Handbook (available in English and French) intitled Life Projects for Unaccompanied Minors has been developed by Louise Drammeh (Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, United Kingdom).

In Belgium, the El Paso Centre has led a training and educational project through work as a sustainable alternative to school. This activity illustrates a solution in conformity with the interest of the child who so receives an education that he could not receive otherwise in order to carry out a project in his country of origin (Report available in French only).

For more information about the Life Projects.

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