Thousands of migrant children are detained every year in Europe. They are forcibly brought to detention centres in a number of countries, in most cases with a view of preparing for their deportation. There they have to endure prison-like conditions, in spite of not having committed any crime, says the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg.
Some of these children have arrived with their parents, others are on their own, unaccompanied. In both cases they experience fear and uncertainty while in detention.
In most cases they are also deprived of education and are sometimes also exposed to abuse and violence. It is established that detention and restriction of movement have particularly negative psychological effects on minors, and these effects are compounded by time. Unaccompanied migrant children are especially vulnerable.