The main project aim was to identify and recommend better procedures and protection measures for unaccompanied minors (UAM). The project examined reception, protection, asylum and return procedures and focused on:
- the concept of best interests of the child (BIC)
- the formal processes of best interests determination (BID).
The project looked at both concepts in the actual legal framework for UAM 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, a lack of appropriate safeguards for UAM is most likely to arise, leaving the possibility of potentially problematic flexible interpretation of the child’s best interests, which may lead to nationalist, xenophobic and discriminatory reasoning and practice.
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 documented the gaps in the protection of the best interests of the child and offered recommendations.