Legal representation of unaccompanied children

Germany

Country Report: Legal representation of unaccompanied children Last updated: 30/11/20

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Informationsverbund Asyl und Migration Visit Website

Unaccompanied children who are not immediately refused entry or returned after having entered Germany irregularly, are taken into provisional care of the youth welfare office (Jugendamt) in the municipality in which they have had the first contact with authorities or in which they have been apprehended.[1]

In some Federal States, the youth welfare office carries out a so-called “clearing procedure“, which includes an examination of whether there are alternatives to an asylum application, such as family reunification in a third country or application for a residence permit on humanitarian grounds.[2] Although the government has repeatedly declared its intention to establish a nationwide clearing procedure, this has not been introduced so far.

The role of the guardian in the asylum procedure has been described as “unclear”,[3] and the law does not contain any provisions which might help improve this situation. Often, guardians appointed by the youth welfare offices are not in a position to sufficiently support the children in the asylum procedure, because of overburdening or because they have no specific knowledge of asylum laws.[4]  It has been noted that the current legal situation is not in line with relevant provisions of the recast Asylum Procedures Directive and other European legal acts which state that children should be represented and assisted by representatives with the necessary expertise.[5]



[1] Gesetz zur Verbesserung der Unterbringung, Versorgung und Betreuung ausländischer Kinder und Jugendlicher, Official Gazette I of 28 October 2015, 1802. The most important regulations of the law are summarised in Federal Association for Unaccompanied Refugee Minors, Vorläufige Inobhutnahme – Was ändert sich zum 1.11.2015?, October 2015.

[2] See for example: Handreichung zum Umgang mit unbegleiteten minderjährigen Flüchtlingen in Nordrhein-Westfalen 2017 (recommendations for the treatment of unaccompanied minor refugees in North Rhine-Westphalia), available at: https://bit.ly/2JCSRpD.

[3] Gesetz zur Verbesserung der Unterbringung, Versorgung und Betreuung ausländischer Kinder und Jugendlicher, Official Gazette I of 28 October 2015, 1802. The most important regulations of the law are summarised in ‘Federal Association for Unaccompanied Refugee Minors’, Vorläufige Inobhutnahme – Was ändert sich zum 1.11.2015?, October 2015, 30.

[4]Uta Rieger und Nerea González Méndez de Vigo, Kindgerechte Ausgestaltung des Asylverfahrens – Eine Bestandsaufnahme, in: Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk e.V. (ed.): Sammelband Kindgerechte Justiz, available at: https://bit.ly/2DmvbTE, 62-64.

[5]Stephan Hocks, ‘Die Vertretung unbegleiteter minderjähriger Flüchtlinge’, Asylmagazin 11/2015, 367-373.

 

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation