Romania Conference Statement on Refugee Children
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Posted by: Niki Bornes
14th ISPCAN European Regional Conference statement on refugee children and children on the move:
A call for action to all Conference Delegates, ISPCAN members and partners.
This policy statement is developed following a meeting of conference delegates to the ISPCAN European Regional Conference, held 27th to 30th September, 2015 in Bucharest, Romania, concerning children displaced by war, violence and discrimination. The conference was organised by ISPCAN inconjunction with FONPC.
1. Activities of all professionals and organisations working with children in these circumstances must apply the principles of Best Interests identified in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article3). Further, the rights laid down in the CRC should be upheld regardless of the child’s immigrationstatus. This applies to all children up to the age of 18 years.
2. The civil society response in many parts of Europe has been encouraging and welcome. This must not, however, substitute for the humanitarian duties of the EU and all States to respond withinthe framework of the CRC.
3. All those working with children and youth should listen to and respect the voices of children and of families with children. They should safeguard their rights to be heard and to participate indecisions that concern them.
4. Where children and youth are in a country of transit, their basic needs for protection, shelter, nutrition, health care, appropriate clothing, religious life, education and play must be met.
5. Children and youth reaching destination countries should be supported to integrate into and be provided with mainstream services as well as the regular education system in a non-discriminatoryand culturally sensitive way. At the same time they should be assessed for and provided with anynecessary additional support.
6. Children should not be separated from their families as long as this is consistent with their best interests. Existing relationships, including those between youth who have strong bonds throughshared experiences, should be respected.
7. Organisations (including governmental) should be encouraged to release professionals to workwith these populations as would occur following a natural disaster.
8. All countries must ensure that actions conform to safeguarding standards including complaintsmechanisms and effective staff monitoring. There must be an acute awareness that children andyouth in these situations can become targets of sexual and other exploitation.
9. Front line professionals and volunteers who are working in exceptionally harsh conditions will require support to prevent burn out and collapse of services.ISPCAN, FONPC and conference delegates urge all governments to address the root causes of theproblem and to join forces with people advocating for effective actions to stop war and civil conflicts,genocides and oppressive regimes that violate fundamental human and children’s rights.