FRA took part in an exchange of views on missing unaccompanied children with the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee in Brussels on 21 April.
FRA explained the challenges in reporting disappearances and tracing missing children, and provided advice and recommendations for improvement. FRA also underlined the urgent need to create a safe environment for unaccompanied children in the EU and ensuring cooperation between relevant actors to prevent disappearances. Europol and Missing Children Europe provided evidence from their work on this issue.
The discussions highlighted the challenges in implementing existing child protection standards, and the need to enhance transnational cooperation and information sharing. The possible use of biometric data of children, such as fingerprints, stored in migration and law enforcement tools to enhance tracing was also raised, provided data protection and other fundamental rights safeguards are in place. This is an area FRA’s current project on biometrics data in large-scale EU databases is looking into. For example it is exploring the possibilities of optimising the use of the Schengen Information System (SIS II) for tracing missing children.