When a refugee is not a refugee, and child is not a child

22 February 2023

When a refugee is not a refugee, and child is not a child: Accompanied and unaccompanied migrant children’s access to rights in Belgium

This talk focuses on the integration of accompanied and unaccompanied migrant children, especially in Belgium, and in what ways on-the-ground practices diverge from international and supranational conventions. Refugee children’s right to education, family reunification, and to have their wishes considered in decisions taken about their lives, are respected to varying degrees. This variation is created by numerous actors and forces, including governmental and civil society actors as well as the children’s own mobilization. After touching briefly on the importance of the social construction of childhood, this talk then draws on fieldwork with young migrants in public spaces and schools in Belgium.

This online lecture is part of the EuMIGS Lecture Series 2022 on migration policy and refugee reception in the (trans-) local context.

Shannon Damery is a researcher at the CEDEM at the University of Liège, Belgium