The Tables serve as a compilation of the key EU provisions addressing the situation of unaccompanied children of third country origin in the European Union. They are intended to allow policy makers and practitioners easily find and navigate the range of EU provisions set forth across different instruments. They also allow for a comparative reading and analysis of those provisions. They link the EU provisions with rights in the UN Convention of the Child to facilitate their implementation, application and interpretation in line with the UN CRC, as required under EU law.
The Tables contains relevant provision from the Schengen Borders Code, the recast EU asylum instruments (namely, the recast Reception Conditions, Asylum Procedures and Qualification Directives, the recast Dublin Regulation with its Implementing Regulation and the Eurodac Regulation) the Anti-Trafficking Directive, the Directive on Residence permits for victims of human trafficking, the Family Reunification Directive and the Return Directive.
The transposition dates of all of these instruments are contained in “General Measures of Implementation”.
The Tables do not contain the original EU asylum instruments, nor do they contain the EU Anti-Trafficking Framework Decision that preceded the EU Anti-Trafficking Directive. The EU provisions contained in the Tables do not apply in their entirety to the following countries:
- Denmark: no application of the Anti-Trafficking Directive, the Directive on Residence permits for victims of human trafficking or the asylum recast legislation.
- Ireland: no application of the Schengen Borders Code, the Directive on Residence permits for victims of human trafficking, the Return Directive or the asylum recast legislation with the exception of the Dublin III Regulation.
- The UK: no application of the Schengen Borders Code, the Directive on Residence permits for victims of human trafficking, the Return Directive or the asylum recast legislation with the exception of the Dublin III and Eurodac Regulations.
The Tables identify the provisions which are specific to unaccompanied children, as well as those provisions which relate more generally to children. The Tables further indicate general provisions which may be particularly relevant to the fulfilment of children’s rights.
It is important to bear in mind that, whilst the Tables focus on the fulfilment of children’s specific needs and rights, other general provisions from the instruments which are not identified in the Tables may have a bearing on the situation of an unaccompanied child.
The Tables contain a Guiding Table, an Overview Table and the Detailed Table which addresses specific issues in more detail.
It serves as an aid to the use of the Tables and contains a list of issues of relevance to children in chronological order (i.e. as they take place from first encounter of an unaccompanied child on the territory of a Member State, to reception and assistance, to the implementation of durable solutions and their monitoring, including integration, transfer to another EU or third country or return to country of origin). The Guiding Table shows where these issues are addressed in the Tables that follow.
The legislative provisions are grouped by reference to the thematic clusters of the UN CRC, with which Member States will be familiar from the UN CRC reporting requirements (see General guidelines regarding the form and content of initial reports to be submitted by States Parties under article 44, paragraph 1(a), of the Convention). According to the reporting guidelines, issued by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the thematic clusters used in the tables are:
- General Principles, containing the four UN CRC core principles, which must inform all provisions on minors’ rights and protection and their interpretation. Only cross-cutting provisions are considered under this cluster;
- Civil Rights and Freedoms, including identification and documentation;
- Family Environment and Alternative Care, including restoration of family links, assistance to and rehabilitation of particularly vulnerable children, and reception staff specific training;
- Health and Welfare, including access to healthcare and welfare, rights of disabled children, accommodation and material support;
- Education, Leisure and Culture, including the right to education and play;
- Special Protection Measures, with particular emphasis on procedural measures: provision of guardianship/representation, legal information and assistance, access to procedures and appeals, durable solutions, safeguards on detention and data protection;
- General Measures of Implementation, which includes measures of implementation in relation to the instruments considered, as well as actors’ general training and qualification requirements and complaints procedures.
The Overview Table contains references to the provisions under each cluster and related rights, while the Detailed Table examines each cluster in more detail across the instruments, including subheadings to highlight different elements and reproducing the content of the relevant provisions. Further to note, the definitions cluster contains the relevant definition from the CRC, i.e. a child. Further definitions are contained in a Glossary table.
Both the Overview and the Individual Tables can be read per cluster/right or per instrument.
Whilst the Cluster approach enables some general categorisation of rights, it is the case that all rights are indivisible and interdependent. Specific points to note in this regard:
Some provisions may be directly relevant to several clusters and therefore are referenced under several clusters. (e.g. Articles 21-22 of the recast Reception Conditions Directive, which appear under “Civil rights and freedoms” in “Identification as child/ unaccompanied child” and under “Basic health and welfare” in the subheadings “Accommodation” and “Rights of disabled children”);
Under the General Principles cluster:
- This typically identifies legislative provisions which contain reference to each of the four core CRC principles: non-discrimination; best interests of the child; right to be heard/right to participation; right to life, survival and development, whether expressed as an overarching principle for the application of the whole instrument considered (e.g. Preamble (9) of the recast Reception Conditions Directive under “Best interest”) or in relation to specific contexts (e.g. Article 24 of the recast Reception Conditions Directive, where the best interest of the child is mentioned in the context of the duties of the representative).
- Other provisions relevant to securing general principles may be found under other clusters. For example, with respect to “Right to life, survival and development”, besides the general principles which relate to the right to life, survival and development (contained for example in Preambles (18) and (45) of the recast Qualification Directive or Article 11.5 of the Anti-Trafficking Directive), specific provisions may be relevant (e.g. Article 10.2 of the return Directive under “Right to adequate standard of living/material support “in the cluster “Basic Health and Welfare”).
- “Right to be heard/Right to participation” focuses on two subheadings: “Right to information” and “Interview”. Other provisions which are relevant to securing the right to be heard/right to participation may be found under other clusters. In particular, “Special Protection Measures” (e.g. “Guardianship/Representation”; “Access to procedures”; “Appeals”) (Cluster VII);
Under “Right to adequate standard of living/material support”, Article 10.2 of the Return Directive is listed; however it is worth noting that Article 10.2 concerns an adequate standard of living/material support in the country of return.