The Council of Europe is offering a way for professionals working with child migrants to face the challenge of providing correct and age-appropriate information to migrant minors in Europe. It has released a handbook for these professionals, with guidelines on how to convey child-friendly information to children in migration.
"Children in migration have the right to be informed about their rights and the procedures affecting them," the Council of Europe said in a statement. "Such information is crucial uphold the child's right to be heard and to participate in procedures affecting them. Children in migration face additional barriers in access to information that is child-friendly despite being identified as one of the most vulnerable groups of children in Europe today," it said.
Child protection priority
Tomáš Boček, the Council of Europe's special representative of the secretary-general on migrants and refugees, said the protection of child refugees and migrants is one of the Council of Europe's priorities. He said the child-friendly handbook was developed as part of the framework of the Council of Europe's Action Plan on Protecting Refugee and Migrant Children, and is "crucial for children's safety and the possibility for them to access their rights". He said the handbook also deals with "one of the main challenges that face countries today."
The handbook includes examples of promising practices implemented around Europe; practical tips to highlight ways to implement this guidance in practice; specific situations or risk factors that would increase a child's vulnerability or increase the barriers in access to rights; questions children may have at different stages of their journey; children's recommendations; and "golden rules" for each given context.
The handbook also includes quotes from children. "In class, there are some who are a little embarrassed, others who are shy and others who are ashamed of not knowing. They feel stuck, blocked. Everyone has his story. There are some who are there, they are in class but in their head, they are elsewhere. They think of their past. Sometimes people are scared, their situation is very complicated, it's not easy," said Hafidjou, 15.