Lancet CAH: International migration of unaccompanied minors

5 September, 2021

An important new paper from ICHG convener Delan Devakumar and colleagues (the International Child Health Group jointly administers CHIFA with HIFA and ISSOP):

CITATION: International migration of unaccompanied minors: trends, health risks, and legal protection

Susanna Corona Maioli, Jacqueline Bhabha,Kolitha Wickramage,Laura C N Wood,Ludivine Erragne,Omar Ortega García,Rochelle Burgess,Vasileia Digidiki,Robert W Aldridge,Delan Devakumar

The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health

Published: August 17, 2021



The global population of unaccompanied minors—children and adolescents younger than 18 years who migrate without their legal guardians—is increasing. However, as data are not systematically collected in any region, if collected at all, little is known about this diverse group of young people. Compared with adult migrants, unaccompanied minors are at greater risk of harm to their health and integrity because they do not have the protection provided by a family, which can affect their short-term and long-term health. This Review summarises evidence regarding the international migration and health of unaccompanied minors. Unaccompanied minors are entitled to protection that should follow their best interests as a primary consideration; however, detention, sometimes under the guise of protection, is a widespread practice. If these minors are provided with appropriate forms of protection, including health and psychosocial care, they can thrive and have good long-term outcomes. Instead, hostile immigration practices persist, which are not in the best interests of the child.

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator,