In Search of Protection: Unaccompanied Minors in Italy

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A new paper from the Scalabrini Migration Study Centers is now available. The paper is part of a series from the Scalabrini Migration Study Centers, a worldwide network of educational institutes on international migration, on different migration issues and policy ideas that should inform the development and implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration. 

In Search of Protection: Unaccompanied Minors in Italy

This paper examines the issue of unaccompanied minors arriving in Italy and how Italy has responded to their need for protection. It contains five complementary sections. Section 1 provides a statistical overview of unaccompanied minors in Italy between 2014 and 2017. In particular, it discusses unaccompanied minors who request political asylum, those in government reception facilities who do not, and those who have left reception centers without seeking asylum and have become “untraceable.” The second section addresses why unaccompanied minors leave their countries of origin and how they transit to Italy and elsewhere. This section highlights the role of families in the decision to migrate and the migration process. It distinguishes between unaccompanied minors who largely seek to “escape from” particular conditions and other migrantswho are in search of a better life for themselves and their families. The third section covers Italian reception policies and policymaking challenges, with a particular focus on implementation of Italy’s System for the Protection of Asylum Seekers and Refugees. The section argues for reception procedures and interventions that are tailored to the particular vulnerabilities and needs of unaccompanied minors. Section 4 offers a psychosocial analysis of the phenomenon of unaccompanied child migration. It describes strategies to build the competencies, sense of agency, and resilience of unaccompanied minors. The final section details the demands and requirements of acting in the “best interests” of unaccompanied minors. It ends by setting forth minimum principles of protection for unaccompanied minors, which should inform both the Global Compact on Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees.

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Additional papers from the Scalabrini Migration Study Centers are forthcoming and will be available on the Center for Migration Studies website:

Tags: children    Italy    policy    protection    refugees    research   

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