The Right to Effective Participation of Refugee and Migrant Children: A Critical Children’s Rights Perspective

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UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies
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Refugee and migrant children comprise one of the most vulnerable groups in the context of worldwide migration flows. The vulnerability and precarious situation of refugee and migrant children calls for a strong legal position in asylum procedures. Effective participation in asylum procedures – based on child-friendly and age-appropriate communication and adapted procedures – can strengthen the legal position of refugee and migrant children and contribute to the perceived fairness of complex procedures and outcomes. In this paper, through critical analysis of legal instruments, a nuanced understanding of the meaning of the right to participation for refugee and migrant children will be sought. This right will be conceptualised from a children’s rights perspective, with the aim of investigating its meaning for this specific group of children. Moreover, the meaning and scope of participation will be studied in relation to other children’s rights and principles. It will be shown these rights and principles, such as the right to participation, the right to information, access to justice, child-friendly justice and the best interests of the child principle are closely connected in relation to the involvement of children in asylum procedures.

Children’s rights, refugee children, migration, participation