More than one in five migrants arriving in Europe is a child. Egypt itself holds the highest percentage of UMC among adult irregular migrants trying to reach Europe, and is also a destination and transit country for irregular UMC. The Egyptian Government recognizes the protection needs of UMC as it ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and all of its protocols, and promulgated the Egyptian Child Law 12/1996 (amended through Law 126/2008) to guarantee the rights of the child as per the CRC and other ratified covenants. It is of paramount importance that the emigration of children from Egypt is carefully examined in order to ensure adequate protection for this vulnerable group. In this respect, there is a need to enhance national reception and protection capacities upon the successful return of Egyptian UMC to their home communities throughout Egypt, in particular in high sending governorates such as Gharbia, Sharkeya, Minya, Monufia, Beheira, Kafr El Sheikh and Assiut. This starts from improving reception facilities at entry points, the interview process, and covers other protection services, while ending with the identification of durable solutions such as family reunification upon return, and long term reintegration options.
 Since 2011, Egypt holds the highest percentage of UMC among adult irregular migrants reaching Europe. In 2014, 2,007 (49%) of the 4,095 Egyptians arriving irregularly in Italy were UMC in comparison to only 28 per cent in 2011. This upward trend continued in 2015, when 1,711 out of 2,610 Egyptian irregular migrants were UMC (66%). In April 2016 alone, 638 Egyptian UMCs arrived in Italy in comparison to 18 during the same month last year. These children face hazards and risks relating to their migration route such as death at sea and are reportedly more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse by smugglers.
 Unaccompanied by their legal guardian parents, relatives or by an adult who, by law or custom, is responsible for doing so.
In order to respond to the challenges above mentioned, this project aims at improving the protection environment for UMC in Egypt in line with international standards and best practices in child protection. Specifically, NCCPIM&TiP and relevant national agencies will strengthen child protection in Egypt through the development of procedures for the identification of and coordination of protection services for UMC.
- Donors: IOM Development Fund
- Duration: December 2016 to December 2017
- Location: Egypt
- Beneficiaries: Unaccompanied migrant children (UMCs)
- Expected Results
- NCCPIM&TiP and relevant stakeholders have the necessary tools and procedures for the identification of and coordination of protection services for UMC.
- NCCPIM&TiP members have the skills and knowledge to provide protection services to UMC in line with international standards for child protection.
- Links to Broader National and International Commitments
- Egypt Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS): 2030 Vision: Social Justice Pillar: “By 2030, Egypt is a fair interdependent society characterized by equal economic, social, political rights and opportunities realizing social inclusion. A society that provides protection, and support to marginalized and vulnerable groups”.
- President El-Sisi Statement in front of the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly (2015): “It is our belief in Egypt that the Middle East and the world at large are confronted with a perilous danger and are in dire need of a model that presents new prospects for our youth, providing them with opportunities for a brighter future”.
- Declaration of the Ministerial Conference of the Khartoum Process: “Assisting in improving national capacity building in the field of migration management in all its components upon individual request of the countries in the region”; “Ensuring protection to refugees and asylum-seekers and assistance to migrants in vulnerable situations”.
- Valletta Action Plan (2015), Priority initiative 5.1: “Pay special attention to unaccompanied minors taking into account the principle of the best interest of the child. Child protection systems in countries of origin and transit should be supported so as to offer a safe environment for vulnerable children including unaccompanied minors upon their return“.
- Sustainable Development Goals - Target 8.7: “Eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour” as well as 10.7 “Facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies”.
- IOM Migration Governance Framework – Objective 3: “Migration should take place in a safe, orderly and dignified manner”.