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04 Abr 2019

Guidelines for Best Interests Determination for Vulnerable Child Migrants in Zambia

The term “best interests” broadly describes the well-being of a child. Such well-being is determined by a variety of individual circumstances, such as the child’s age and level of maturity, the presence or absence of parents, and the child’s environment and experiences. Its interpretation and application must conform with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and other international legal norms and instruments, as well as with the guidance provided by the Committee on the Rights of the Child in its 2005 General Comment No. 6 on the treatment of unaccompanied and separated children outside their country of origin.

The UNCRC stipulates that a child’s best interests must be: (a) the determining factor for specific actions relating to the care of the child, as well as (b) a primary (but not the sole) consideration for all other actions affecting the child, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies.

Despite legislation and policies in Zambia that guarantee the best interests of the child, including those of the migrant child, there are no clear guidelines in place to operationalize the principle. In view of this, the Guidelines for Best Interests Determination for Vulnerable Child Migrants in Zambia formalize the process of best interests determination (BID), as well as of best interests assessment (BIA), to improve the consistency and quality of services that significantly impact the lives of migrant children in Zambia. The Guidelines also establish the BID Panel and assign to it its responsibilities, providing guidance on the elements of and the practical procedural steps for consideration during the BIA and BID processes, focusing on child protection.

  • Foreword
  • Acknowledgements
  • Technical working group members
  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Executive summary
  • 1. Introduction and Background
    • 1.1. Introduction
    • 1.2. Purpose and scope of the guidelines
    • 1.3. Rationale and basis for best interests determination
  • 2. Protection Guidelines for Vulnerable Migrant Children
    • 2.1. The normative framework for child protection
      • 2.1.1. International and regional normative frameworks
      • 2.1.2. National legal and policy framework
    • 2.2. Child rights fundamental principles: The UNCRC and ACRWC
      • 2.2.1. Principle of non-discrimination
      • 2.2.2. Principle of the best interests of the child
      • 2.2.3. Principle of life, survival and development
      • 2.2.4. Principle of the views of the child
    • 2.3. The nexus: Best interests principle and other principles
      • 2.3.1. Authoritative interpretation of the principle of best interests of the child
    • 2.4. Categories of vulnerable children in need of protection
    • 2.5. Protection measures for identified vulnerable migrant children
      • 2.5.1. Stage 1: Initial interview and assessment
      • 2.5.2. Stage 2: Status determination
      • 2.5.3. Stage 3: Referrals and service provision
      • 2.5.4. Stage 4: Immediate needs provision
      • 2.5.5. Stage 5: Medium- and long-term needs provision
      • 2.5.6. Stage 6: Voluntary return to the country of origin
      • 2.5.7. Stage 7: Lasting solutions for migrant children
      • 2.5.8. Other measures
    • 2.6. Other cross-cutting child protection issues for consideration
      • 2.6.1. Prevention of trafficking, sexual and other forms of exploitation, abuse and violence
      • 2.6.2. Prevention of military recruitment and protection against effects of war
      • 2.6.3. Prevention of the deprivation of liberty and treatment of children in cases thereof
      • 2.6.4. Access to asylum procedures, legal safeguards and interpreters, and rights in asylum
  • 3. Best Interests Assessment and Best Interests Determination
    • 3.1. Best interests assessment
    • 3.2. Best interests determination
    • 3.3. Reasons for conducting BID
    • 3.4. Instances where BID needs to be conducted
    • 3.5. Elements and practical procedural steps in conducting BID
      • 3.5.1. Elements for consideration
      • 3.5.2. Balancing the elements for consideration in best interests assessment
    • 3.6. BID Panel procedural safeguards to guarantee implementation of the child’s best interests
    • 3.7. The BID Panel, Manager and forms
      • 3.7.1. The BID Panel and its responsibilities
      • 3.7.2. Structure of the National BID Panel
      • 3.7.3. The BID manager and his/her responsibilities
      • 3.7.4. Vital tools/forms for BIA and BID
  • 4. Conclusion
  • Glossary
  • Annex A: Best Interests Assessment (BIA) Form for Vulnerable Migrant Children in Need of Protection
  • Annex B: Best Interests Determination (BID) Form
  • Annex C: BID Confidentiality Form
  • Annex D: Interpreter’s Undertaking and Confidentiality Form
  • References