The Great Debate UK
-Simone Troller is children’s rights researcher with Human Rights Watch and specialises in unaccompanied migrant children in Europe. The opinions expressed are her own.-
It should hardly come as a surprise to anyone reading the news that Europe’s biggest group of asylum seekers are Afghans, including thousands of children who arrive alone.
But what should surprise readers is that a growing number of European countries, including the UK, plan to deport these vulnerable children. The British government claims that returning them will prevent others from making the hazardous journey. It wants to set up a reception centre for them in Kabul.
But this approach raises serious concerns.
Child rights organizations actively discourage institutionalizing children and most European countries, including the UK, have moved away from this form of child protection.
This was the 1970s when I was fresh out of an American college, bumming around Europe on almost no money. But it was the Ireland of my ancestors and they had no money either, so we were all in this together.