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Unaccompanied Children’s Right to Legal Assistance in Asylum Proceedings. An overview of the universal and regional systems of human rights protection in Europe and the Americas.

Vannelli, Marina LU (2017) JAMM07 20171
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract
The situation of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children is nowadays a global issue affecting an important number of children all over the world. Nevertheless, the special needs and vulnerabilities of this group of children have not yet been effectively assessed. In fact, unaccompanied minors constitute the most vulnerable group among all asylum seekers and face human rights’ violations continuously when -for instance- they are not treated with dignity, do not receive sufficient information and are subject to different forms of violence and abuse as a consequence of States’ lack of adequate protection.

Among their procedural safeguards, the right to legal representation is a fundamental right strictly related to the realisation of other... (More)
The situation of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children is nowadays a global issue affecting an important number of children all over the world. Nevertheless, the special needs and vulnerabilities of this group of children have not yet been effectively assessed. In fact, unaccompanied minors constitute the most vulnerable group among all asylum seekers and face human rights’ violations continuously when -for instance- they are not treated with dignity, do not receive sufficient information and are subject to different forms of violence and abuse as a consequence of States’ lack of adequate protection.

Among their procedural safeguards, the right to legal representation is a fundamental right strictly related to the realisation of other rights contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In light of this, the purpose of this thesis is to assess the legal foundations for unaccompanied children’s right to legal assistance under International Law and examine the current legal framework regarding representation in asylum procedures under the regional systems of human rights protection in Europe and in the Americas. Accordingly this thesis examines whether regional legal systems offer sufficient protection to unaccompanied minors by centring the analysis on the right to be assisted by a legal representative and therefore, establish if these systems have failed to provide unaccompanied children with adequate access to justice. In order to reach this aim, both regional legal frameworks are critically reviewed while assessing the quality of regional standards in relation to universal standards. In addition, while analysing both regional systems, special emphasis is made on the identification of where the potentials for positive transformations lie and on the possible gaps in the existing legal regime.

The thesis takes a thorough look at the international and regional treaties, jurisprudence from the European Court of Human Rights and Inter-American Court of Human Rights, legal doctrine, regional policies and reports from human rights’ organisations. The conclusions drawn under this paper through a critical analysis of the existing legal frameworks are significant for addressing the current problems that unaccompanied children face in terms of protection of human rights. In addition, this thesis highlights the fundamental role that regional systems play in the protection of human rights and the necessity of establishing specific regional standards with regards to legal assistance in asylum procedures. Also, the labour of human rights’ advocates and the need of complete data in relation to this vulnerable group is discussed. (Less)
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author
Vannelli, Marina LU
supervisor
organization
course
JAMM07 20171
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
asylum-seeking child, Unaccompanied children, procedural guarantees, legal representation, asylum procedures, best interest principle, human rights.
language
English
id
8928627
date added to LUP
2017-11-21 15:44:58
date last changed
2017-11-21 15:44:58
@misc{8928627,
  abstract     = {The situation of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children is nowadays a global issue affecting an important number of children all over the world. Nevertheless, the special needs and vulnerabilities of this group of children have not yet been effectively assessed. In fact, unaccompanied minors constitute the most vulnerable group among all asylum seekers and face human rights’ violations continuously when -for instance- they are not treated with dignity, do not receive sufficient information and are subject to different forms of violence and abuse as a consequence of States’ lack of adequate protection. 

Among their procedural safeguards, the right to legal representation is a fundamental right strictly related to the realisation of other rights contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In light of this, the purpose of this thesis is to assess the legal foundations for unaccompanied children’s right to legal assistance under International Law and examine the current legal framework regarding representation in asylum procedures under the regional systems of human rights protection in Europe and in the Americas. Accordingly this thesis examines whether regional legal systems offer sufficient protection to unaccompanied minors by centring the analysis on the right to be assisted by a legal representative and therefore, establish if these systems have failed to provide unaccompanied children with adequate access to justice. In order to reach this aim, both regional legal frameworks are critically reviewed while assessing the quality of regional standards in relation to universal standards. In addition, while analysing both regional systems, special emphasis is made on the identification of where the potentials for positive transformations lie and on the possible gaps in the existing legal regime. 

The thesis takes a thorough look at the international and regional treaties, jurisprudence from the European Court of Human Rights and Inter-American Court of Human Rights, legal doctrine, regional policies and reports from human rights’ organisations. The conclusions drawn under this paper through a critical analysis of the existing legal frameworks are significant for addressing the current problems that unaccompanied children face in terms of protection of human rights. In addition, this thesis highlights the fundamental role that regional systems play in the protection of human rights and the necessity of establishing specific regional standards with regards to legal assistance in asylum procedures. Also, the labour of human rights’ advocates and the need of complete data in relation to this vulnerable group is discussed.},
  author       = {Vannelli, Marina},
  keyword      = {asylum-seeking child,Unaccompanied children,procedural guarantees,legal representation,asylum procedures,best interest principle,human rights.},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Unaccompanied Children’s Right to Legal Assistance in Asylum Proceedings. An overview of the universal and regional systems of human rights protection in Europe and the Americas.},
  year         = {2017},
}