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Print this pageREFUGEE AND DISPLACED CHILDREN: A Rough Guide to International Standards




Child Rights International Network

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Publication (general)

UN Human Rights System

The Convention on the Rights of the Child

Article 22 of the CRC says that States Parties must take measures to ensure that children who are seeking refugee status or are considered refugees according to international or national law, receive protection and humanitarian assistance so that they can enjoy their rights as set out in the CRC and other applicable human rights and humanitarian instruments.

It says that States Parties must cooperate with the UN and others to protect and assist such children, as well as to trace family members. If family members cannot be found, children must receive the same protection as other children who are deprived of their family.

In 2005, the Committee on the Rights of the Child issued General Comment No. 6,
"Treatment of unaccompanied and separated children outside their country of origin" which recommends measures that States should take to protect the rights of unaccompanied and separated children.

In addition, Article 9 states that if a child is separated from his or her parents, where separation is the result of action by a State Party, that State must, upon request of the child, a parent, or family member provide the child with information about the whereabouts of a family member shall, unless the provision of the information would be detrimental to the well-being of the child.

Article 7 of the CRC says all that children have a right to nationality from birth.

Other relevant UN instruments

UN mechanisms on refugees and internally displaced persons

Council of Europe

The European Convention on Nationality makes a number of references to children
Article 6.2 says that Each State Party shall provide in its internal law for its nationality to be acquired by children born on its territory who do not acquire at birth another nationality.
This includes, among others, children found in its territory who would otherwise be stateless.

Other relevant instruments of the Council of Europe

The African Human Rights System

The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

Article 23 of the African Charter makes the same provisions for refugee children as Article 22 of the CRC, with the important addition of a provision for internally displaced children. This says that the same provisions must apply for children who have been internally displaced because of natural disaster, internal armed conflicts, civil strife, or breakdown of economic and social order.

Article 25 sets out special provisions for children who have been separated from their parents to which children who are refugees or internally displaced are entitled.

Other relevant instruments and mechanisms in the African human rights system

The Americas

There is no inter-American instrument which deals with issues concerning refugees and internally displaced persons, but the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees, Colloquium on the International Protection of Refugees in Central America, Mexico and Panama relates to the situation of refugees in Latin America. There is no specific mention of children in this Declaration.

UNHCR Guidelines for protecting refugee children

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of instruments relating to refugee and internally displaced children, and we will constantly be updating this list. If you have any additional information you would like us to add, please contact us at

Further information

Previous Publication (general) items

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Child Rights International Network
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Tel: +44 (0)207 401 2257

Last updated 20/06/2007 13:16:04

Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.

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