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Final Conference “Thinking outside the box” London, March 2018

 

On the 1st and 2nd March 2018, the AIRE Centre, in collaboration with Child Circle in Belgium, the Centre for Women War victims (ROSA) in Croatia and the University College Cork in Ireland, hosted the conclusive event in relation to the Separated Children in Judicial Proceedings Project, run thanks to the partial funding of the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme of the EU. 

 

Two years after its launch, with the kick-off event held in London in April 2016, the Project came full circle, gathering leading judicial, legal and other professionals working on different aspects of children’s rights in the premises of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in London, who generously hosted the initiative and sponsored the reception.

Once again, the event aimed to promote the exchange of good practices and encourage the cross-fertilisation between standards and practices emerging from different and - only apparently - unconnected areas of children’s rights, reflecting on the lessons learnt in the course of the Project. 

Building on the experience of the project events previously held in London, Brussels, Dublin and Zagreb, the two-day event combined panel presentations and speeches reflecting on current issues and innovative approaches to separated children cases. As the title suggests, the event was intended to encourage different professionals to share their experiences and ‘think outside of the box’ in children cases, in the different kinds of legal proceedings that affect them.

By bringing together the different streams and topics covered in the course of the project, the event explored recent developments emerged across the contexts of Asylum, Relocation and Abduction, Migration, and Brexit, assessing the commonalities in the situation of children affected by the above issues and discussing best practices to ensure their protection.

On Day 1, a word of welcome from the representatives of the partner organisations, including Nuala Mole (Senior Lawyer and Founder, the AIRE Centre) and Rebecca O'Donnell (Child Circle), introduced the inspirational speech of Gulwali Passarlay, Afghan author and activist and former unaccompanied child asylum seeker, who brought a touching testimony of his experience as an refugee child seeking safety in the UK. The speech was followed by a discussion on emerging issues in Asylum, trafficking relocation and abduction cases, with the remarkable contribution of Raza Husain QC, of Matrix Chambers, who reflected on the state of refugee children’s rights in a post-Brexit scenario, and Nuala Mole, who examined some of the challenges presented by the recent case law on relocation and abduction (including the ECtHR case of Oller Kamińska v. Poland (no. 28481/12)).

The exceptional presence of the President of the Supreme Court, Baroness Hale, who contributed to the discussion throughout the panel and delivered an inspirational keynote speech, successfully concluded the first day of the event. 

On Day 2, the event was opened by a panel discussion on the various aspects dealt with in the course of the project, including:

  • The rights of children of EU citizens, with the intervention of Matthew Ahluwalia, Public Law Project;
  • The protection of trafficked children, addressed by Markella Papadouli, Legal Project Manager at the AIRE Centre;
  • Asylum Seeking Children’s rights after Brexit Raza Husain QC, Matrix Chambers. 

The panel was followed by the presentation of the Training Templates and Modules produced by the Separated Children Project Team as a result of the activities conducted in the course of the Project, gathering inputs and contributions of the discussions held and presenting the scenarios of possible cross-fertilisation between the fields covered.

The Templates and Modules comprise:

  1. A Module on Relocation and Abduction of children
  2. A Module on children in Asylum and Trafficking situations
  3. A comprehensive list of international and European legislative tools protecting separated children’s rights
  4. A guide on how to take children cases before international and European recourse mechanisms

An electronic version of the above will be made available to download on the AIRE Centre’s website shortly (watch this space).

Although having attracted a very wide interest among practitioners, with over 90 registrations for Day 1 and over 55 for Day 2, the disruptive weather conditions during the days concerned regrettably hampered the attendance of a good number of registered attendees who were unable to physically join the event.

The provision of live streaming, generously provided by Freshfields, partly made up for the inconvenience, allowing many to follow the conference remotely.

The extraordinarily engaged and diverse audience intervening in the discussion demonstrated the growing need for professionals working on separated children’s rights to come together and exchange good practices. The fruitful discussion and exchange of the two days crowned the achievements and work carried under the Separated Children in Judicial Proceedings Project.

Speakers:

Baroness Lady Hale, President of the United Kingdom Supreme Court

Gulwali Passarlay, former unaccompanied asylum seeker child in the United Kingdom

Raza Husain QC, Barrister, Matrix Chambers

Nuala Mole, Senior Lawyer and Founder, the AIRE Centre

Timothy Scott QC, Barrister 29 Bedford Row

Rebecca O’Donnell, Lawyer and Founder, Child Circle

Anja Tolić, Lawyer, Jelavic i Partneri

Markella Papadouli, Lawyer, AIRE Centre

Matthew Ahluwalia, Barrister, Public Law Project

Béatrice Blois, Project Manager AIRE Centre

Adriana Tidona, Project Assistant AIRE Centre

 

For more information, please contact separatedchildren@airecentre.org

 

This publication has been produced with the financial support of the Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) Programme of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the AIRE Centre and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission.

 

Find more about the AIRE Centre Separated Children in Judicial Proceedings Project here