Making Separated Children Visible: The Need for a Child-Centered Approach
Dublin, Ireland: Irish Refugee Council
December 2006, 92 pages
Reports on the current climate in Ireland toward separated, asylum-seeking children and outlines suggestions for the future policy responses of the Irish government. Immigration results globally from children who faced persecution such as forced conscription as child soldiers, female genital mutilation, child marriage, sale and trafficking for prostitution, bonded child labor, and infanticide. Children separated from their families during immigration lack the ability to access legal and human rights and require special treatment. Over 4,000 separated children arrived in Ireland between 1999 and March 2005 with half reunited with a family member and half put under the care of the Health Service Executive (HSE). Ireland lacks clear legislation regarding the rights and procedures for asylum-seeking, separated children. Policy recommendations include: (1) incorporating of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Statement of Good Practice from the Separated Children in Europe Program into domestic law; (2) placing the burden of proof credibility on the state not on the child; (3) mandating quick case resolution to ensure that children do not remain in legal limbo; (4) ensuring separated children are not detained as part of immigration control; (5) allowing children to participate meaningfully in the asylum process with interpreters and child-friendly rooms and interview styles; (6) creating additional home foster placement for these children; (7) developing access to education as well as mental and physical health; (8) assigning an independent guardian ad litem for each child; and (9) providing rigorous family reunification efforts in line with best practices.