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House of Representatives
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Italian Chamber of Deputies: Law approved for the protection of unaccompanied foreign minors

On the 29th March, 2017 the draft bill C 1659-B for the “regulation regarding the protection of unaccompanied foreign minors” was approved in the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament.

According to UNICEF, in 2016 25,850 unaccompanied or separated children and adolescents arrived in Italy; more than double compared with the 12,360 in 2015. 91% of all 28,200 minors who arrived in Europe last year arrived in Italy.

The measure introduces a series of modifications to the current regulations regarding unaccompanied foreign minors which intend to specify a national system of protection and reception, which strengthens the protection instruments that are already guaranteed by legislation and, at the same time, safeguards the homogeneity in the application of the regulation across all national territories. The principle regulations of the law are in line with UNICEF regulations and coherent with the commitments of the Italian government regarding its accession to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and to Agenda 2030. They also fulfil the observations made on Italy by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

With the new regulations, unaccompanied and/or separated foreign minors cannot be turned away at the border, it reduces the maximum time allowed for detaining minors in first reception structures and improves procedures to verify the age of the minor. There will be a coherent reception system which satisfies the minimum standards of the residential structures for minors, with a greater presence of qualified cultural mediators. The foster care figure will be reintroduced and promoted, and some unaccompanied children rights aòready recognised will be reinforced, such as the right to healthcare and to education. In conclusion, within the Ministry of Employment and social politics, there will be an national system database of unaccompanied minors.

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