Kids Empowerment and the COFRADE Call for a UN Inquiry Into Violations of the Rights of Unaccompanied Minors in France
Kids Empowerment and the French Council of Associations for the Rights of the Child (COFRADE) have, with the support of other nonprofits and grassroot organizations, petitioned the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (hereafter the Committee) to denounce serious and systematic breaches of the rights of unaccompanied minors (UNAM) in France. This petition, declared admissible by the Committee , opens the possibility for an inquiry. This would be an essential step forward aiming at the reform of the regulatory framework currently in force in France and the evolution away from reprehensible local practices.
Based on the information provided in the petition prepared by two lawyers members of the Alliance of Lawyers for Human Rights (AADH), Camille Oberkampf and Delphine Mahé, the petitioners are asking the Committee on the Rights of the Child to:
· Conduct an inquiry into the alleged violations by France, a State party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, of the rights set forth in the said Convention with regard to the reception and support of unaccompanied minors present on the French territory,
· Submit comments and necessary recommendations ensuring the protection of the rights of these children.
To support their complaint, the petitioners provided the Committee with numerous quantitative and qualitative data, including concrete findings from the field demonstrating serious and systematic violations of the rights of unaccompanied minors in France, notably their right to unconditional protection. Access to healthcare, accommodation and education are also covered in the 80-page document , which concludes that without doubt, the rights of these minors deprived of parental care are not respected in France.
The petition considers that two main elements are responsible for the violations reported: the denial of underage status suffered by these children which deprives them of schemes of French child care protection, and unequal treatment suffered by these children on the French territory.
In addition, the inadequate financial, human and material resources allocated by the Government to the departments responsible for child care of these children, along neither an efficient control body nor state coordination, weaken all attempt at the protection of the rights of these particularly vulnerable children.
While thousands of unaccompanied minors present on French territory see their rights violated on a daily basis, the response from the Committee should lead to the legal recognition of a “presumption of underage status” still lacking despite the recommendations of the Constitutional Jurisdiction, the European Court of Human Rights and the Committee itself. Such recognition, would finally guaranty that child protection take precedence over any other consideration (including the fight against irregular immigration), while ensuring respect for the “best interests of the child”.
Currently, thousands of unaccompanied minors depend on the voluntary support of nonprofit and grassroot organizations whereas they should, like any other minor present on the French territory, benefit from state childcare protection schemes.
Launch of Destination Unknown Guide
A Guide – Children and the Global Compacts on Refugees and Migration. Understanding what’s in the compacts and how to engage with them.
Destination Unknown, a network of organisations and young people united to protect children on the move, led by Terre des Hommes and of which Kids Empowerment is a member, has developed a new guide on child rights and the global compacts.
The guide analyses the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees through a child rights lens and outlines the measures foreseen in these documents for the protection of the rights of the child.
It outlines what is in the Global Compacts that is of relevance for children and the provisions for the implementation, monitoring and review of these frameworks. It also suggests ways of engaging with the implementation of the Global Compacts.
Destination Unknown is committed to working in partnership and developed this guide to support people, organisations and agencies working to protect children on the move to make better use of the Global Compacts in their daily work, to the benefit of refugee and migrant children.
Kids Empowerment Joins Destination Unknown
Kids Empowerment is very excited to announce that, in February 2021, we have joined the Destination Unkown campaign, a global alliance committed to ensure that children and youth on the move enjoy their rights everywhere and all the time.
Kids Empowerment Joins Conseil Français des Associations pour Les Droits de L’enfant (COFRADE)
On April 5th 2019, Kids Empowerment was admitted as a member of the Conseil Français des Associations pour Les Droits de L’enfant (COFRADE). Like Kids Empowerment, COFRADE aims to ensure the proper implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in France. By coordinating the work of its member associations, COFRADE seeks to promote the rights of the child and advocates with public authorities. As a collective, the organization effectively plays its role of guarantor of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to French institutions. One of their main projects at the moment focuses on the right to education for children. Kids Empowerment will be able to do advocacy through this organization and we are excited for the wonderful opportunities ahead of us.
Our Child’s Right Education Project with the Caserne Exelman
Former barracks in Paris, the Caserne Exelman, serves as a temporary shelter for many refugees. Kids Empowerment is working with the Aurore Association, which is managing the shelter for asylum seekers. We are patterning with them to raise awareness about child’s rights through weekly education activities with the kids.
Global NextGen Index
As a member of the Global Campaign to End Child Detention Kids Empowerment is proud to have been able to contribute with its work to the development of the NextGen Index, a comparative tool that ranks States on their progress in ending child immigration detention.
The tool was launched in August 2013. You can find out more about the tool and the ranking of your country here .
International Refugees Rights Conference
Kids Empowerment will be attending the International Refugee Rights Conference this June from the 7th-9th in Toronto, Canada organized by the Canadian Council for Refugees. Participants of the conference will include NGOs, government officials, academics, refugees and more to discuss new strategies to combat international injustices committed against refugees and immigrants. This year, there is a special focus on the Global South and the Global Compacts on migration and refugees. Some of the objectives of the conference include promoting “cross-border networking”, “enhancing advocacy” and “development” of NGOs, and uplifting and amplifying “the voices of refugees and vulnerable migrants.”For more information visit: http://ccrweb.ca/en/international-refugee-rights-conference-2018#zoom=8&lat=43.77345&lon=-79.50187&layers=BT
UN Committee on Migrant Workers
In June 2017, Kids Empowerment addressed its recommendations to the UN Committee on Migrant Workers on the Draft Joint General Comment on the Human Rights of Children in the Context of International Migration.
Our recommendations, as well as other organizations’ recommendations, are available for consultation on the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner’s website: