Unaccompanied minors (mineur-e-s non accompagné-e-s, MNA)
Numerous children and teenagers leave their country of origin on their own and are consequently confronted with dangers and an uncertain future. Every year, several hundreds of these children and teenagers arrive in Switzerland. ISS Switzerland supports MNA in exercising their rights and finding durable, individual solutions. These can consist of an integration in the host country, an integration in a third country or the reintegration in their country of origin.
MNA are children first
Underage migrants traveling on their own are first and foremost children. They need to be treated according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (ratified by Switzerland in 1997), which promotes the child’s best interest as its core concept. ISS Switzerland is committed to draw the attention of the responsible authorities, professionals and political decision-makers to the need for protection of MNA by providing information and raising awareness.
Harmonisation of standards
In Switzerland, the cantons are responsible for the accommodation and care of asylum seekers, resulting in different regional systems and standards which can affect the development of prospects for the future of MNA. ISS Switzerland works towards a harmonisation of standards in the accommodation and care of MNA throughout Switzerland and assists professionals in using child-centred approaches in their work.
Support into adulthood
Transitioning into adulthood entails significant changes for MNA, especially regarding their legal situation, their accommodation and their opportunities for education. MNA are therefore in need of support beyond the age of majority. Additionally to institutional support, members of civil society can offer young adults important assistance by maintaining stable and long-term relationships with them through mentoring.