Representatives from state administrations and NGOs of 26 countries in North, Central and South Eastern Europe met in Stockholm on 8 – 9 December to share their experiences and knowledge on the reception of unaccompanied children and related necessary assistance. The event under the title “Promoting Good Practices in Protecting Unaccompanied Children and Finding Solutions for the Children, Families, Societies and States”, was organised and co-financed by the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and the CEI Secretariat.
 
The situation of unaccompanied children has been attracting growing attention at policy and research levels. The European Commission, the Council of Europe and the United Nations are strongly raising the issue of standard setting since 100,000 unaccompanied children sought asylum in the EU in 2015 and many more are liable to being unregistered. These numbers increase substantially when all migrant and refugee children moving through Europe are added. A number of CEI Member States are still countries of origin for minors migrating to other countries in pursuit of better living conditions and a special panel focused on this very topic.
 
The proceedings of the conference illustrated why and how children, including adolescents and youngsters, are moving away from their families and communities looking for better lives abroad. The specific services to be organised and the good practices to be strengthened for the minors in order to treat their actual rights in line with the UN Convention on the Right of the Child. The OSCE-OCEEA, the Council of Europe, the Ministry for Social Policies of Sweden and its National Association of Unaccompanied Children contributed with opening statements.
 
The Icelandic Presidency of the CBSS (Ambassador Guðmundur Árni Stefánsson) and the Bosnia and Herzegovina CEI Presidency (Ambassador Milos Prica) attended the conference to provide a follow-up to its Conclusions. This final document will guide the CBSS and the CEI in 2017 and beyond in promoting international networking and dialogue as well as in  implementing the Guidelines for promoting the best interests of the children in cross-border cases and a wiki online portal on transnational child protection, recently issued by the CBSS Children at Risk Unit.

The event was co-financed by the CEI Cooperation Fund in the framework of the Extraordinary Call for Proposals for co-financing Cooperation Activities on migration and related crime.

The presentations from the meeting can be found here

 

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