Significant numbers of children from third countries migrate to Europe, for a variety of reasons, travelling with their families, alone or separated from their family. Between January and August 2015 alone, 174,235 children sought asylum in the European Union, representing one in four asylum seekers. From January to September, tens of thousands of unaccompanied children arrived by sea. Comprehensive data on children that have not claimed asylum or are residing undocumented in the EU is lacking. As children and as migrants they face a number of risks, including health risks, particularly when they are undocumented.
The current situation demonstrates the necessity of implementing a rights-based approach to protect all migrant children, regardless of whether they are seeking asylum, are documented, undocumented, trafficked, accompanied or unaccompanied. EuroHealthNet is concerned by the lack of attention to children’s rights in these policy discussions and developments in various European meetings in the past few months and therefore subscribed to this letter together with 59 other organisations in the fields of human rights, child rights, health and social inclusion.