Recent years have seen a steady rise in the numbers of separated children arriving in European countries. At the same time experience has shown that the treatment they receive upon and after arrival is at best, not adequate and at worst, potentially damaging. The way in which these children are treated when arriving in Europe requires special attention in terms of protection during and after the asylum process and interim care, particularly in the present climate of restrictive asylum and immigration practices.
The Separated Children in Europe Programme was established in 1997 as a response to this situation and seeks to improve the situation of separated children through research, policy analysis and advocacy at the national and regional levels. It is a joint initiative of UNHCR and Save the Children and is based on the complementary mandates and areas of expertise of the two organisations. UNHCR's responsibility is to ensure international protection of refugee children and of those seeking asylum; Save the Children is concerned to see the full realisation of the rights of all children.