[European Union] Europe's child refugee family reunion system is failing

11 Jun 2017

It has been reported by Aljazeera news, that approximately 200 unaccompanied refugee youth ranging from the ages of 12 to 17 years old, are living in the woods near the former Calais refugee camp. These youth are reliant on one hot meal per day, provided by local charities. In addition to this, these unaccompanied minors bare cold nights with little accessories, while attempting to remain invisible to French officials, in order to gain entrance and admittance into the United Kingdom.

According to Dublin III Regulations, minors seeking asylum and who have family members residing in European Union member states, are entitled to safe passage. However, with the exception of few cases, charitable organizations claim that the family reunification system operating within the European Union, is failing. 

An example utilized by this article, is that of a young male from the Northeastern African country of Eritrea, named Efrem, who is fleeing his native country to elude political oppression and military drafting. Efrem, who has an older brother residing in England, has traveled to the United Kingdom, where he was ensured passage on designated routes, however, four months later, Efrem remains in the center. As a result, Efrem had returned to Calais, and is seeking other irregular alternatives to enter the United Kingdom. 

In 2016 alone, the European Union identified 63,300 new youth migrants who had traveled alone and who had sought asylum protection, according to figures presented by Eurostat. This number constitutes a near 35% decrease from the preceding year, and a figure five-fold of the yearly medians from 2008 to 2013. 

A significant portion of these migrants enter the European Union from Italy and Greece, onward seeking to proceed north bound toward countries such as Sweden, Germany, and the United Kingdom. 

In addition to this, the article indicated that other issues are at hand, such as the lack of linguistic knowledge of these unaccompanied youth migrants, inadequate informational sources, lack of resources, and attention granted to these migrants and their needs.

Furthermore, it is alleged that the government of the United Kingdom is dependent on private actors such as Safe Passage, to fulfill the governmental responsibility to spot children eligible for entry. 

Having all this being said, little faith is shared among these children in the family reunification system of the European Union. 

This project is funded by: