In January 2017, coinciding with the informal Justice and Home Affairs Council, Missing Children Europe joined hands with the Maltese President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society to bring together key stakeholders concerned with the protection of migrant children’s rights across Europe between the 26-27 January. This resulted in the first edition of the Lost in Migration Conference: Working together in protecting children from disappearance.
The first Lost in Migration edition featured high level speakers, including H.E. Maria Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta; Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and President of Missing Children Europe; Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship; Carmelo Abela, the Maltese Interior Minister on behalf of the Maltese Presidency of the EU; Rob Wainwright, the Director of Europol; Jose Carreira, the Director of EASO, high level representatives from UNICEF, UNHCR and IOM and, Members of the European Parliament, Hilde Vautmans and Caterina Chinnici.
In addition to panel discussions, the event featured testimonies from young adults who arrived as unaccompanied children in Malta, a “living library” bringing stories and expertise from Italy, Greece, Belgium and Germany, workshops organised by frontline professionals and the screening of the film “Kakuma”. A debriefing was organised with the youth who spoke about their migrant journeys to provide them with an opportunity to give feedback on the session. The event was preceded by the launch of a blog collecting articles on the analysis of specific protection challenges and stories from the field.
At the conference, 160 professionals took stock of the situation and the current challenges of this children rights crisis. Based on the discussions, research, expertise and recommendations put forward by stakeholders at the “Lost in migration” conference, including the findings of the SUMMIT report on missing migrant children, the conference developed forward looking operational and policy recommendations to policy makers. The endorsement and implementation of these recommendations is essential to improving the situation of migrant children in Europe and to offer them a fair chance for a better future. The conference also addressed the need for a comprehensive child protection approach to effectively prevent and respond to disappearance.
The conference conclusions, including 10 operational and policy recommendations and 7 cross-cutting recommendations on the overall policy framework, data and funding, are available here and open to endorsement from civil society, NGOs, international organisations, politicians and academics. If you want to endorse these recommendations, please inform us through this form. These recommendations were sent to EU ministers on February 22nd 2017.
Find photographs from the conference here.
Find the opening speech by H.E Marie Louise Preca Coleiro, President of Malta here and a video of her closing speech here.
Find the speeches given by Maud de Boer Buquicchio, President of Missing Children Europe here.
Find a live feed of day 1 of the conference here, of day 2 here and a short review of all the workshop sessions here put together by the youth from INSITE.
Find a list of media coverage of the event on our press page.
For a comprehensive list of written and video material from the conference click here.
For more information, please contact Federica Toscano, focal point for missing unaccompanied migrant children at Missing Children Europe.