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Statement by Estonia at the Stocktaking Meeting of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, Puerta Vallarta, 4–6 December 2017

05.12.2017

Statement by Estonia in the Action Group 1: Human Dimension.

Thank you, moderators.

Estonia aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union.

We underline the expectation for the Global Compact to maintain the people-centeredness and thus to ensure that protection of human rights is mainstreamed throughout the Global Compact. In this regard, the Global Compact should recall the core international human rights treaties and that the States must fully protect the human rights of all migrants, regardless of their migratory status.

Particular attention has to be devoted to addressing the specific needs of migrants in vulnerable situations, but also to gender mainstreaming including through the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

Allow me to focus on undoubtedly one of the most vulnerable group of migrants – the children. Estonia pays special attention to the plight of child migrants and to the effective protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of all children, regardless of their status.

We are convinced that the best interest of the child must guide all considerations and decisions concerning children. Therefore, Estonia is working towards strengthening child protection and integration measures in national legislative frameworks and practices, including in the areas of access to education, health, social and legal services of migrants, as well as in promoting measures to combat any kind of discrimination and xenophobia.

To give an example, while implementing the European Agenda on Migration and relocating and resettling migrants to Estonia since 2015, all children from 1.5 years to 18 years have been enrolled into kindergartens and schools from the second week of their arrival. Given that these children come from a crisis area where they could have been victims of persecution or torture, they might have an increased need for additional support services, for example psychologist, social pedagogue or speech therapists. All schools have therefore access to support specialists, and each child is assisted in view of his/her special needs. In addition, training and counselling of teachers and support personnel has been provided in all schools where relocated or resettled migrant children are enrolled.

We consider the best interests of the child as a priority in all actions concerning migrant children. We recognize the negative effects that the administrative detention has on children, while bearing in mind that in some exceptional cases detention of children might occur. In those cases, it is considered as a measure of last resort, for the shortest possible time, under conditions that respect the human rights of each child and taking into account the best interests of the child.

Thank you.

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