UNHCR has long recognized the specific protection needs of children in asylum procedures. Children might have independent claims to refugee status separate from those of their parents or other family members. They might experience certain child-specific forms of persecution that may give rise to a claim for refugee protection. In addition, children have inherent vulnerabilities that mandate additional safeguards as they move through the asylum process.
UNHCR has developed the following summary, which explains how to use international law and UNHCR guidance to leverage child asylum-claims in the U.S.
On February 7th, UNHCR, KIND and the Young Center co-hosted a webinar on "Representing Children from Central America: Leveraging International Law to Strengthen Gang Based Asylum Claims":
- Recording available here.
- Guidelines on International Protection, Child Asylum Claims under Articles 1(A)2 and 1(F) of the 1951 Convention and/or 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees (providing substantive and procedural guidance on carrying out refugee status determinations in a child-sensitive manner)
- UNHCR Report, Children on the Run: Unaccompanied Children Leaving Central America and Mexico and the Need for International Protection (examining why unaccompanied children are fleeing the Northern Triangle of Central America and Mexico)
- UNHCR, Uprooted (Arrancados de raíz) (2014) (discussing the situation facing unaccompanied and separated children moving across borders from Central America into Mexico)
- UNHCR Guidance Note on Refugee Claims Relating to Victims of Organized Gangs (providing legal guidance on the assessment of asylum claims caused by, or associated with, organized gangs)
- UNHCR intervention before the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in the case of Mejilla-Romero v. Holder (articulating the international legal basis for and requirements of a child-sensitive approach to asylum claims)
NTCA and Mexico Country Conditions Reports
Country conditions reports should be submitted with the asylum application. Such reports provide the adjudicator with background information about the human rights situation in the applicant's country of origin or last habitual residence.
- Refworld: Children
- KIND: Resources for Children’s Asylum Claims (2015)
- The Young Center: Resources
- NIJC: Useful Documents for Attorneys Representing Unaccompanied Immigrant Children
- ABA: Best Practices for Representing Unaccompanied Children in Immigration Proceedings (2015)
- ABA: Legal Resources and Training Materials for Working with Central American Children (2014)
- ILRC: Unaccompanied Immigrant Children Resources (2014)
- Center for Gender & Refugee Studies: Children's Asylum Guidelines
- HealthRight International Human Rights Clinic (providing forensic psychological, medical, and gynecological evaluations for survivors of torture and other human rights abuses for use in immigration proceedings)