Unaccompanied minors detained in Denmark

At the Danish detention facility for asylum seekers, Ellebæk, at least 25 unaccopanied minor asylum seekers and 5 families with children have been detained in 2011. This practice is not in accordance with the UN convention on the Rights of the Child, according to the Danish Refugee Council.

25 minor asylum seekers between the ages of 15 and 17, and five families have been detained in Ellebæk in 2011.

Denmark is among the countries that have signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 3 states: In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be the primary consideration.

"Detention of a child is a very severe intervention. In relation to minor asylum seekers is also an intervention that affects children who have not committed any crime. It is very difficult to accept that detention is consistent with the requirement to put the child first, "says head of the asylum department with the Danish Refugee Council Eva Singer.

There is no central registration of detention of minors, and in relation to minor asylum seekers, they are only registered by the police when they have been detained for more than three days - the limit they can be detained without being presented before a judge. Ten of the children in Ellebæk were detained for more than three days and up to 21 days in 2011.

"Ellebæk does have specific guidelines in relation to detained children, but it is clear that children who are already vulnerable due to their flight and the uncertainty about the future do not belong trapped among unfamiliar adults who may also be affected by traumatic experiences and the prospect of a forced return, "says Eva Singer.

The Danish Refugee Council takes part in the international campaign - Global campaign to end the immigration detention of children, which is supported by more than 40 international NGOs. The campaign launched by the International Detention Coalition with support from the Diane, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.

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