The 19 organizations say that the proposed French registration of foreign children is a historical setback for children’s rights.
Rabat – Nineteen organizations, unions, and associations, including UNICEF, Doctors of the World, Gisti, and Cimade, have launched a legal challenge to a French law that hardens foreign children’s conditions in France.
On February 28, the organizations said they would oppose the French law, which aims to compile age assessments of unaccompanied minors into a single database.
The new law enables departments responsible for child protection to send minors to prefectures for fingerprinting and determining identity.
In a press release published on UNICEF’s website, the NGOs stated why they are against the registration of minors.
“By collecting their personal data, fingerprints and pictures, and using them for migratory control purposes, the government will be able to expel these minors without considering their fundamental rights,” said the organizations.
They pointed out that France intends to move young migrants as soon as possible, rather than welcoming them temporarily to stabilize and assess their conditions.
The organizations also stated that the minors will not have any protective guarantee: They will have no psychosocial support, agents who take care of them are not trained, and the minors will be placed in the same areas as adults.
The law reverses the “benefit of the doubt” principle regarding minors’ ages, and minors must communicate much personal information to authorities. If they refuse, their decision could be seen as a confession.
The organizations said that “these regulations seriously undermines children’s rights. We consider that it is imperative that the French Council of state should ensure the respect of children’s rights as it is guaranteed by our Constitution.”
According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (commonly abbreviated as the CRC), France is committed to considering children’s interests in all its laws. However, the organizations argued that “children’s interests were not taken into account in this decree: their control and their remoteness seem to matter more for the government.”
France passed the law in late January, and it is scheduled to go into effect in April.