Nearly 50 civil society organisations and UN agencies, including Destination Unknown campaign members, have released a joint statement asking EU member states to work towards ending child immigration detention both in Europe and across the globe.

The statement was released ahead of the 2017 European Forum on the Rights of the Child, which is focusing on children deprived of liberty and alternatives to detention. Children detained because of their migration status are one of the groups focused on during the event.

It is imperative that countries in the European Union and throughout the world ditch the laws and policies that allow child refugees and migrants to be detained – finally bringing their actions in line with international human and child rights law. The health, well being and future of these children must take precedent over other migration policies.

All children – from Strasbourg to Syria – deserve to be treated as children before being viewed as refugees, migrants or any other label. They deserve our care and protection, our love and support.

Yet the practice of locking up refugee and migrant children while their migration status is being decided is still rife across Europe. Hungary has already started holding refugees – including children – in guarded camps encircled with razor wire while deciding what to do with them next.

Locking up children purely because of where they come from breaks international law. It fails to protect children and robs them of the bright future they risked their lives travelling across land and sea for.

It’s time the EU put these children’s future first, replacing the damage which immigration detention can do to children with the better life and opportunities that every child should enjoy.

Read the joint statement in full here.


Kopin forms part of the Destination Unknown Campaign which advocates for rights of children on the move.

To share this article on Twitter, use the #endchilddetention and tag @KopinMalta so we can share your post.