Child protection concerns have never been central to refugee policy or practice. In this latest article for Rethinking Refuge, Professor Jacqueline Bhabha and Dr Vasileia Digidiki (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health) assess the impact of COVID-19 on existing pressures to repatriate child refugees. They argue that the pandemic presents an opportunity to rethink repatriation policies to better serve the interests of vulnerable child migrants.
Bhabha and Digidiki write that “As externalization policies multiply from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean, with wealthy destination states increasingly off-loading their humanitarian obligations on poorer neighbors, repatriation has become a core migration management strategy.” And while “best interests considerations” should be uppermost in the formulation of child migrant repatriation policy, available evidence suggests they are not.
Rethinking Refuge is an interdisciplinary platform that seeks to bridge the gap between scholarly research, policymaking, and public understanding to meaningfully engage with the challenge of forced displacement in the 21st century.
Read the article ‘Child repatriation in the time of COVID-19’ here >>