PUCAFREU Research Project
MIGRINTER (CNRS) was the coordinating body on the PUCAFREU research project (« Promoting Unaccompanied Children’s Access to Fundamental Rights in the European Union ») whilst leaning on a network of 5 partner organisations in the Member States which made up the geographical scope of the project : « Hors la Rue » (France), Service Droit des Jeunes (Belgium), « Fondation La Merced Migraciones » (Spain), « ASGI – Associazioni per glistudigiuridicisull’immigrazione » (Italy), and the « PARADA » Foundation (Romania). The University of Roma Spaienza (Italy) also brought its expertise to the project as an associated partner.
The main objective of the project was to analyse the reasons which hinder the access of unaccompanied and separated children lacking protection to their fundamental rights guaranteed by international legislation and to promote a better access to these rights.
The general absence of statistics documenting the living conditions of migrant children neglected by child protection services justified the undertaking of such a study in 5 countries: Belgium, Spain, France and Italy as countries of destination or transit and Romania as a country of origin for this type of migration. The originality of this study was to explore the perceptions of the children and young people met during the study, whilst collecting their stories regarding their own situation and their experiences within child protection services in the case that they had access.
Firstly, the research contained a theoretical analysis of the legal questions, essentially concerning the interpretation and adequate application of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to the situation of unaccompanied and separated children living in a EU Member State.
Once the construction of a common methodology was completed, research in the field was simultaneously conducted, between the autumn of 2011 and the summer of 2012, in the 5 States which constituted the scope of the project. This research aimed to explore the living conditions and the activities of unaccompanied and separated children lacking protection in each of these countries, the eventual difficulties faced by them in order accesstheir fundamental rights as well as the reasons explaining their lack of protection.
The results of the different studies undertaken have shown a heterogeneity which is principally linked to the different patternsoftreatment and care of this population, resulting in different profiles and realities in each territory. Nevertheless, the research highlighted the general deficiencies of institutional practices and inadequate treatment, provoking the expulsion of migrant children from State protection, which in itself is contrary to the standards of international law.