Principles to guide actions Posted July 11, 2016


In May 2016 representatives of international organizations and non-governmental organizations met in Geneva to work on Recommended Principles to Guide Actions Concerning Children on the Move and Other Children Affected by Migration.

The resulting list of PRINCIPLES on a two-page was not branded or formally endorsed by the participating organizations.  Rather the PRINCIPLES were adopted to remind the international community of a concise set of fundamental principles that should underpin all migration-related policies applicable to children who migrate or are otherwise affected by migration.

They can be found in different languages on an unbranded website


During the 32nd Session of the Human Rights Council, Destination Unknown, Terre des Hommes co-organised a side-event  on the theme “Guiding actions concerning children on the move and other children affected by migration”.

We Are What We Do, Not What We Say

Moderated by Ignacio Packer of Terre des Hommes, the side event discussed strategies to influence policy makers and other stakeholders responsible for implementing measures that affect the rights and needs of these children.

Michael Jacob and Mikile Zeray youth in country of destination, Karin Mathys, and short film of Farah Abdi  provided insights on citizen initiatives and their views of a harmonious society.

Never Arrive – Long version of 6:15

Following the presentation of the “Principles” by Ben Lewsi of IDC, a panel of experts was invited to share perspectives: Mirela Shuteriqi of UNICEF, Cécile Nuyt of Geomoun and Pia Oberoi of OHCHR.

The event promoted principles to guide actions concerning children on the move and other children affected by migration and reflected on the discrepancies between what we say and what we do to protect these children.

The PRINCIPLES are derived from existing international human rights law, humanitarian law and refugee law.

Previous lists of child specific principles have focused on children involved in international migration and on children who are unaccompanied or separated. Of particular note are the recommendations set out in the Committee on the Rights of the Child’s 2012 Day of General Discussion Report on The Rights of All Children in the Context of International Migration. These PRINCIPLES, by contrast, also apply to children who move within their own country, to children who migrate with their parents, and to children who remain behind when one or both parents migrates.

Explanatory comments to the PRINCIPLES are being drafted and commented by the group of experts and will be made available on September 1st 2016.   The expanded commentary includes two sets of supplementary clarifications, one citing the primary international law source of each principle, and the other expanding on the implications of respecting the principle.

These PRINCIPLES are intended as a concise and non controversial summary of well established international norms regarding children on the move and other migration affected children. The goal of this synthesis is to encourage attention to and conformity with these fundamental rights benchmarks, and to reduce the incidence of their persistent violation.


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