Unaccompanied migrant minors in detention
IREM ARISOY & WILLEM-JAN VAN DER WOLF
An unaccompanied minor (sometimes “unaccompanied child” or “separated child”) is a child without the presence of a legal guardian.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child defines unaccompanied minors and unaccompanied children as those “who have been separated from both parents and other relatives and are not being cared for by an adult who, by law or custom, is responsible for doing so.” The Committee defines separated children as those “who have been separated from both parents, or from their previous legal or customary primary care-giver, but not necessarily from other relatives. These may, therefore, include children accompanied by other adult family members.”
In immigration law unaccompanied minors, also known as separated children, are generally defined as foreign nationals or stateless persons below the age of 18, who arrive on the territory of a state unaccompanied by a responsible adult, and for as long as they are not effectively taken into care of such a person. It includes minors who are left unaccompanied after they entered the territory of state. A few countries have non-asylum procedures in place to adjudicate unaccompanied minor cases.
Family reunification is a core component of a durable solution for an unaccompanied child, wherever this is in the best interests of the child.Family reunification could take place in the country of destination or origin, or in a third country. Caseworkers and officers should inform unaccompanied children about the possibilities and procedures for family reunification. The child should have access to support when applying for family reunification.