Children who are forced to leave home unaccompanied are covered by two intersecting bodies of law – international refugee law and international child rights law. These two frameworks interact in a way that can deliver or impede effective protection in practice for unaccompanied young migrants and refugees, especially as they transition to formal adulthood at the age of 18. Moreover, the dilemmas faced by unaccompanied migrant children as they transition to adulthood with mixed and uncertain immigration statuses is a profoundly neglected area of national and international policy, requiring a fundamental rethink of what might constitute viable and ‘durable’ solutions for their lives and futures.
What can the international policy community do to address this profoundly neglected area of national and international policy?
To coincide with the launch of the new book, Youth Migration and the Politics of Wellbeing, co-authored by Professor Elaine Chase, University College London, and Dr Jennifer Allsopp, Harvard University, and published by Bristol University Press (2020), this event brought together policymakers and experts from around the world.
The authors presented the book’s main findings and policy implications and a series of expert panelists then responded. They discussed how the United Nations and other international human rights governance bodies can address the policy protection gaps for unaccompanied child migrants and refugees becoming adult and provide an immediate and coordinated policy response to the stalled transitions of youth on the move.
About the book
The book documents the nuances and complexities of the stories of over 100 unaccompanied young migrants and refugees from countries including Afghanistan, Eritrea and Albania. It captures not just the moments when unaccompanied minors arrive but follows what happens next in their global trajectories, from academic careers at prestigious universities in and beyond Europe, to life post-deportation in refugee camps in Indonesia and Iran.
The book seeks to illuminate the humanity in the individual stories of young people, while also drawing attention to common policy dilemmas to which their shared plight gives rise.