Migration, Refugees, and Children’s Rights

  • Ciara SmythEmail author
Reference work entry
Part of the International Human Rights book series (IHR)


This chapter explores the rights of irregular migrant children who come into contact with immigration control at the border. Following the immigration trajectory of such children, the chapter deals with access to territory, identification and channelling of children into the correct immigration procedure; the right of the child to seek and enjoy international protection, due process guarantees in immigration and asylum procedures, the rights of the child relating to reception, and so-called durable solutions for immigrant children. There are two broad aims. The first is to explore how the rights of the child intersect with general human rights standards of relevance to immigrants and with international refugee law. The second is to contrast the normative landscape with the reality experienced by child migrants on the ground, interrogating whether the routine and widespread ill treatment of irregular migrant children is due to some ambiguity or underdevelopment in the standards or a failure by states to implement the standards. Overall, it is found that the problem relates less to the content of the relevant norms and more to a failure of implementation. In this regard, states’ commitment to the child rights agenda tends to be canceled out by the much more powerful immigration -control agenda. The latter is characterized by such measures as deflection, criminalization of migration, and the denial of the human rights of migrants – all of which are now stock migration management tools. Although many of these measures are patently at odds with the rights of the child, their bluntness – which is their raison d’etre – forecloses exceptionalism for children.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Law, NUI GalwayGalwayIreland

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