IOM and Unaccompanied Migrant Children

Throughout the last decade IOM has acquired an extensive experience in the area related to assistance to UMC. This assistance has taken various forms within the different fields of IOM’s migration-related activities: improving migrant children’s health; resettlement-related activities; reception and integration in the country of destination; assisted voluntary return and reintegration in the country of origin or a third country; family tracing and reunification; collection of operational data and programmatic information; and research and information campaigns.

Similarly, IOM Belgium’s significant experience on and with UMC in the past decade has been build-up through the implementation or the contribution to various projects linked to UAMs: research projects such as the European-wide project “Best Practices for a Coordinated Approach to Assist Unaccompanied Minor Asylum Seekers and Former UAMs in EUMS (CAUAM)” and direct assistance projects such as sensitization campaigns (“Raising Awareness on Unaccompanied Minors’ rights in Europe by Targeting UAMs through an Info Campaign and Involving them in its Development (EUAM II)” and the projects linked to Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR).

In the last years and currently, the UMC-linked projects implemented by IOM Belgium have been mainly focusing on assisted voluntary return and reintegration as a voluntary return can be part of a durable solution if it’s in the Best Interest of the Child. These projects include also a Family Assessment component involving the UMC’s family and IOM’s office in the Country of Origin: this assessment represents additional information for the UMC’s legal guardian in Belgium and can help him in determining what the child’s best interest is.

The various successive phases of IOM Belgium’s AVRR approach have either included a distinct parallel project for UMC or include a UMC component within the main AVRR programme. The current B-Advanced project (01/07/2015 – 30/06/2016) includes assistance to vulnerable cases (including UMC).

The B-Connected project (01/01/2014 – 30/06/2015) included a sub-section with specific support to UMC from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Morocco and six Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo (UNSC 1244), FYROM Macedonia and Montenegro).

The B-Tailored project (01/01/2013 – 30/06/2014) included a separate project for UMC originating from Afghanistan and the DRC and the UMC project linked to B-Extra (01/01/2012 – 30/06/2013)  was targeting UMC from Morocco.


Past projects