Discrimination experienced by children and young people affected by migration, including refugees, unaccompanied foreign children, and children of foreign parents

Children affected by migration, including refugees, undocumented migrants, and stateless children, often face severe treatment in the child justice system based on their status or that of their parents as non-citizens. Language and cultural barriers, among others, further exacerbate discrimination against these children.

For example, in Greece, migrant children are routinely and increasingly being detained.[i] In the US, child justice personnel often report suspected youths to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement despite local confidentiality rules, which often results in their prolonged detention pending immigration proceedings, which potentially compromises future immigration applications.

Youth and children affected by migration are likely to face general discrimination, which further fosters distrust by law enforcement officials, subjecting them to negative stereotypes and treatment. A globally consistent and comprehensive approach is necessary to ensure that migrant children have access to justice and can access their rights without discrimination.


[i] Joint Submission of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and of the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants report on ending immigration detention of children and seeking adequate reception and care for them, 15 May 2020, available online: https://www.icj.org/joint-submission-on-immigration-detention-of-children-in-greece/.

Disclaimer: Authors are the Global Initiative on Justice with Children with pro-bono support from Baker McKenzie. This section represents one among other positions of some members of the World Congress Consortium and does not necessarily represent the view of all institutions and members  involved.