In whose best interest ? Exploring Unaccompanied Minors’ Rights Through the Lens of Migration and Asylum Procedures

Source :


Date : Décembre 2015

The project “In whose best interest ? Exploring Unaccompanied Minors’ Rights Through the Lens of Migration and Asylum Procedures (MinAs)” is a research project carried out in four European countries (Slovenia, Austria, France and United Kingdom) in the period from June 2014 to December 2015. European Commission finances the project and its main aim is to identify and recommend better procedures and protection measures for unaccompanied minors (UAM).

The project examines UAMs’ reception, protection, asylum and return procedures and focuses on :

1. The concept of best interests of the child (BIC).
2. The formal processes of best interests determination (BID).

The project looks at both concepts in the actual legal framework for UAM in reception, protection, asylum and return procedures in the four EU countries. Many European countries have not yet introduced best interests determination procedures into their national legislation for UAM. In these cases, lack of appropriate safeguards for UAM are most likely to be identified, leaving the possibility of (too) flexible interpretation of the child’s best interests, which in some cases may be subjected to nationalist, xenophobic and racist discourse. In order to contribute to fulfilling the national obligations set out by international law, as well as following the aims of the European Commission, the project analyses the practical, philosophical and phenomenological dimensions of the best interests of the child, which will enable a deeper understanding of the best interests of children as well providing a solid basis for proper implementation of the principle in practice.


1 Introduction

2 Field research parameters

3 Overview of the French national context
3.1 Contextual country information
3.2 Institutional framework.
3.2.1 First contact with French authorities
3.2.2 Heterogeneous practices of admission into care along the territory
3.2.3 Models of regularisation when unaccompanied children become of age

4 Findings
4.1 Legal status
4.1.1 Asylum/Migration/International protection procedures
4.1.2 Age assessment procedures

  • (1) A social assessment
  • (2) An evaluation of the young person’s identity documents
  • (3) Medical age estimations
  • (4) Analysis of the impact and the children’s perceptions on age assessment procedures
    4.1.3 Care/guardianship appointment procedure
    4.1.4 Transition to 18
    4.1.5 Return procedure

4.2 Care provisions and day-to-day living
4.2.1 State funding and financial arrangements
4.2.2 Accommodation and access to food
4.2.4 Access to education
4.2.5 Access to paid work
4.2.7 Informal support network and social life
4.2.8 Leisure
4.2.9 Living in accordance to cultural orientation
4.2.10 Life plan perspectives

4.3 Best interest of the child determination

4.4 Towards durable solutions

5 Conclusions
6 Executive summary
7 Bibliography

Rapport disponible en PDF :

Retour en haut de page