Voice of Unaccompanied Minor Asylum Seekers on Guardianship: A study on Guardians of Unaccompanied Minor Asylum Seekers in Cyprus
A guardian should be appointed for unaccompanied minor asylum seekers to safeguard their rights and best interest. Guardians, whether the staff of an authorized institution or individuals, should be carefully trained and sufficiently qualified to take account of the child’s ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic background and ensure that the child's needs (physical, psycho/social, cultural, legal, medical, educational) are met, while refugee status is being processed and until a durable solution for the minor is identified and implemented. This research analyzes the situation of unaccompanied minor asylum seekers in Cyprus with regard to guardianship as the fundamental element of their protection and ascertains what unaccompanied minor asylum seekers find important factors for their guardians. The findings of the study support the observations on the situation and general assumption that the guardianship system in Cyprus has failed to fully support unaccompanied minor asylum seekers and the guardians role as defined by international guidelines and standards has not been undertaken efficiently by the official guardians appointed by the Cypriot designated authorities. Furthermore, unaccompanied minor asylum seekers have been subjected to violation of their rights and humanitarian concerns such as child labour, psychological abuse and risk of detention due to their residency status. The research also found that NGOs which act as unofficial guardians of unaccompanied minor asylum seekers demonstrated proficient and competent performance of guardianship duties in spite of inadequate cooperation by the official authorities with the NGOs. Although their functions were limited due to the unresponsiveness of the legal authorities, unaccompanied minor asylum seekers interviewed recognized their efforts with satisfaction and acknowledged their expertise.
Author(s): Nikta Akasereh
Editor(s): Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Manfred Liebel Noemi Fivat
Publisher: HFC "Hope For Children" UNCRC Policy Center
A literature study including a study of legislations, international conventions and relevant research; semi-structured interviews with 7 UMAS including ex-UMAS between 17 and 20 years of age; 3 interviews with social workers from NGO. (Background research is considered important to prevent the findings to be jeopardized (Stacks, 2011).)
Cost to obtain the method/tool: Free