Migration policy can not ever justify children’s rights abuse

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) considered the combined fifth and sixth periodic reports of Lithuania and adopted its concluding observations on 2 February 2024.

The Committee paid special attention to the protection measures for asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant children. Recalling the joint general comments No. 3 and No. 4 of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families and the Committee on the Rights of the Child (2017), the Committee urged Lithuania to end the detention of asylum-seeking and migrant children in all circumstances, including detention at the border, by reviewing the Law on the Legal Status of Foreigners accordingly and ensure alternatives to detention with the timely provision of safe and dignified accommodation.

Recommendations to Lithuania include ceasing the practice of pushback operations at the border and ensuring that children have access to information on asylum procedures and to legal aid. Age assessment procedures must be undertaken only in cases of serious doubt about the age of the person concerned and be subject to the informed consent of the child, according to the Committee.

In light of the general comment No. 24 (2019) on children’s rights in the justice system, the CRC recommends promoting non-judicial measures, such as diversion, mediation and psycho-social support, for children alleged, accused of or recognized as having infringed criminal law, and, wherever possible, the use of non-custodial sentences for children, such as probation or community service, and continue the efforts in view of ending the placement of children in socialisation centres.

The CRC points out the lack of mechanisms for the early identification of refugee, asylum-seeking and migrant children who may have been recruited or used in hostilities abroad regarding Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict. There is a need to ensure immediate culturally sensitive, child-centred and multidisciplinary assistance for their physical and psychological recovery, rehabilitation and their social reintegration, and develop systematic awareness-raising, education and training programmes.

The concluding observations of the CRC are not legally binding and so they are not enforceable at national level. However, the Committee recommends that Lithuania takes all appropriate measures to ensure that the recommendations contained in the present concluding observations are fully implemented. The following official step of the CRC reporting cycle is the submission of the next State report to the Committee. The time period before the next report is meant to allow for the State to follow up on the Committee’s recommendations and improve the situation of children’s rights. In addition, the Committee recommends Lithuania to consider ratifying the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and members of Their Families.

At ReLex, we believe that no child should ever be exposed to abuse. In 2023, ReLex represented a minor of Syrian nationality detained at a border crossing point and held incommunicado. ReLex continues to represent minors with their families in pursuit of claiming damages for illegal detention.




Konstitucijos pr. 7, Vilnius LT-09308