Increasingly, we are trying to draw attention to the rights of migrant children. Many countries do not have immigration policies that protect family unity, the needs of minor children, or children’s access to health and education. Most recently UNICEF joined us at the monthly meeting of the NGO Committee on Migration in order to present to us their contribution to the Days of General Discussion in Geneva.
UNICEF stressed the importance of having national policies that take into consideration the “best interests of the child” as expressed in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. These include the right to remain with their families (some children are being put into foster if their parents are deported), the right to adequate health care, the right to education, as well as the right to speak in their own behalf, according to the level of their ability.
Also joining us were two young women who were brought at an early age by their parents to the United States. They are undocumented and are part of the coalition of “dreamers”. They are the reason that President Obama took initiative with an executive order protecting them from deportation and giving them broader possibilities of education and work. The “dreamers” want to give back to the country in return for the opportunities given them.