Worldwide, 59.5 million people were displaced in 2014, 51 % of which were children under the age of 18. Officially, 34,400 asylum applications were submitted by unaccompanied minors. Due to their particular vulnerability, they pose a particular challenge for their host societies.
The study describes the phenomenon of unaccompanied minors and compares the international, European and national standards of protection with the current situation and the legal practice in Austria, Canada, Hungary, Germany, Italy, Poland and the United States.
In addition to the overall situation, the following topics are analysed: the application of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, special treatment as a minor, age determination, guardianship, residences status, asylum procedure, accommodation, youth services, livelihood support benefits, medical treatment, schooling, work permit and changes in the protection status when coming of age. Recent developments are identified, and conclusions are drawn regarding further improvements.
The study makes an important contribution to highlighting the particular vulnerability of unaccompanied minors even in the face of the enormous challenges which the current refugee situation brings with it.
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