Rights of the child

Although the European Union has a number of mechanisms for protecting rights specific to children, many young people are not aware of the existence of any specific services and resources they can turn to, beyond family, friends or teachers, if they are in difficulty.

FRA began its work on the rights of the child immediately after its establishment in 2007 by developing indicators to measure respect for and the promotion of children’s rights in the EU. On the basis of these indicators, FRA has collected data and published reports on child trafficking and on asylum-seeking children who have become separated from their families. The research found that these children are frequently ill-informed about their rights and often feel the asylum procedures are too long, exacerbating the fear and insecurity they were already suffering.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has been ratified by all the EU member states. The EU also has an obligation to promote the protection of the rights of the child, in line with the Treaty on European Union. In 2006, the European Commission proposed a strategy for protecting the rights of the child, and in 2011 adopted the ‘EU Agenda for the rights of the child’.

According to Article 24 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, children have the right to such protection and care as is necessary for their well-being. Their views must be taken into account on matters that concern them, and a child’s best interest must be a primary consideration in any action taken relating to them. Other articles of the charter devote specific articles to child protection, such as the prohibition of child labour.

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Ending child poverty: valuing children’s best interests
17/10/2019

Ending child poverty: valuing children’s best interests

One in four children under 18 are at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the European Union – one of the world’s richest regions. But the promotion and protection of the rights of the child are one of the EU’s core objectives. On International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, FRA calls once again on the EU and its Member States, all parties to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to prioritise investment areas to reduce child poverty to the levels aspired to by the sustainable development goal (SDG 1) on poverty.

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Status: 
Findings available

Practical guide to enhance transnational cooperation: EU child victims of trafficking or in need of protection

The new guidance will provide EU Member States with practical suggestions on how to respond step-by-step from the moment of identification of the child until a lasting solution in their best interests is found. It will also provide a brief overview of the relevant international and EU legal framework, especially in the area of criminal justice, victims’ rights and cross-border cooperation among EU Member States.
Status: 
Findings available

Child poverty and well-being

In 2013, the European Commission released its Recommendation – ‘Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage’. FRA is currently analysing existing secondary European level data on child poverty and well-being, following the indicators annexed in the Recommendation, from a fundamental rights perspective.
Status: 
Findings available

Migration detention of children

FRA is conducting desk research on immigration detention of children – both unaccompanied and children with their parents or guardian. The research covers children in asylum or in immigration/return procedures and covers all EU Member States.

Latest publications View all

Returning unaccompanied children: fundamental rights considerations
September
2019

Returning unaccompanied children: fundamental rights considerations

Paper
Individuals who are not entitled to stay in the European Union are typically subject to being returned to their home countries. This includes children who are not accompanied by their parents or by another primary caregiver. But returning such children, or finding another durable solution, is a delicate matter, and doing so in full compliance with fundamental rights protections can be difficult. This focus paper therefore aims to help national authorities involved in return-related tasks, including child-protection services, to ensure full rights compliance.
Children deprived of parental care found in an EU Member State other than their own
June
2019

Children deprived of parental care found in an EU Member State other than their own

Handbook
Children deprived of parental care found in another EU Member State other than their own aims to strengthen the response of all relevant actors for child protection. The protection of those girls and boys is paramount and an obligation for EU Member States, derived from the international and European legal framework. The guide includes a focus on child victims of trafficking and children at risk, implementing an action set forth in the 2017 Communication stepping up EU action against trafficking in human beings, and takes into account identified patterns, including with respect to the gender specificity of the crime.
Fundamental Rights Report 2019
June
2019

Fundamental Rights Report 2019

Annual report
How much progress can we expect in a decade? Various rights-related instruments had been in place for 10 years in 2018, prompting both sobering and encouraging reflection on this question.