European Network Against Trafficking in Human Beings

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UNHCR Guidelines on Determining the Best Interests of the Child

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UNHCR Guidelines on Determining the Best Interests of the Child
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
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Document type(s)
Guidelines/Recommendations, Research/Study/Analysis,
The Asylum/Refugee Determination Process, Remaining in a Host Country/Country of Asylum, Family reunification, Integration, Adoption, Return, Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Child protection systems, Unaccompanied minors, Best Interests Principle, Best Interests Determination, Best Interests Assessment, Child Victims of Trafficking, Separated Migrant Children,
A best interests determination (BID) describes the formal process, with strictsafeguards, that UNHCR has established for decisions of a similar magnitude.A BID is particularly relevant for refugee children, although in certaincircumstances best interests determinations may also need to be carried out byUNHCR for other categories of children.Building on the practice of domestic child protection systems, thispublication offers guidance (Chapter 1) on how to apply the best interestsprinciple in practice, and defines (Chapter 2) the three situations in whichUNHCR must undertake a BID. These include (i) the identification of the mostappropriate durable solution for unaccompanied and separated refugeechildren, (ii) temporary care decisions for unaccompanied and separatedchildren in certain exceptional circumstances, and (iii) decisions which mayinvolve the separation of a child from parents against their will.Chapter 3 of the Guidelines provides detailed guidance on the procedure.This consists essentially of two key steps: collecting and analysing all relevantinformation; and balancing all relevant factors to determine which of thepossible options is in the best interests of the child. The first step can beundertaken either directly by UNHCR or entrusted to partners, usually NGOs,whereas the second step should normally be taken by a multidisciplinary panel.Chapter 3 also provides guidance on how to weigh the relevant factors, whendetermining a child‟s best interests.
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