Does the principle of the best interests of the child really matter in migration? A European perspective.

Date & time
5.30–6.30pm Wednesday 4 November 2015
Phillipa Weeks Staff Library, ANU College of Law, Building 5, Fellows Road, The Australian National University
Dr Carmelo Danisi, University of Bologna, Italy


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Among the challenges that Europe has been facing in dealing with migration flows, the compliance with international human rights obligations when a child is involved remains problematic.

While the European Union has been successful in including the protection of the rights of the child in its Treaties, the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights have both fostered the effective protection of these rights. More importantly, these supranational Courts have gradually integrated the best interests of the child as a primary consideration when dealing with cases involving, directly or indirectly, children; and have raised human rights issues in the context of measures adopted by European States to control migration flows.

They are shaping the meaning of the best interests of the child in the European framework through the definition of concrete solutions to alleged human rights violations. Although a case-by-case analysis seems to be in compliance with the international interpretation of this concept, it appears that the use of the best interests of the child is shaped around European States’ needs instead of protecting the rights of the children involved. This presentation asks: is Europe realising a genuine children-oriented mainstreaming in the field of migration?

Carmelo Danisi is a post-doctoral researcher in EU and International Law at the University of Bologna and currently a visiting researcher at the Australian National University College of Law. He is the recipient of an Australian Government Endeavour Research Fellowship for his research for a project on the use of the principle of the best interests of the child in the context of migration. Carmelo completed his doctorate at the University of Genova in the area of democracy and human rights. He is author of a number of publications on these topics and has been involved in research projects, among others, for the EU Agency for fundamental rights. At the University of Bologna he teaches international law and EU non-discrimination law.

The ANUCES is an initiative involving five ANU Colleges (Arts and Social Sciences, Law, Business and Economics, Asia and the Pacific and Medicine, Biology and Environment) co-funded by the ANU and the European Union.

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