Unaccompanied Minors (mineurs non accompagnés, MNA) in Switzerland
Numerous children and young people 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 young people 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 primarily children and thus need to be treated according to the Convention of the Rights of the Child (ratified by Switzerland in 1997), which promotes the child’s best interest as its core concept. ISS Switzerland endeavours to draw the attention of the responsible authorities, professionals and political decision-makers to the special 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, leading to different regional systems and standards that can affect the MNA’s development of prospects for the future. ISS Switzerland works towards a harmonisation of the standards for care and accommodation of MNA in the whole country and assists professionals in using child-centred approaches in their work.
Accompaniment into adulthood
Transitioning into adulthood entails significant changes for MNA, especially regarding their legal situation, their accommodation and their opportunities for education. MNA are thus in need of support beyond the age of majority. Additionally to institutional support, reference persons from civil society can offer young adults important assistance by maintaining stable and long-term relationships through mentoring.
- Individual assistance,
- Individual unaccompanied minor assessment,
- Family and social situation assessment,
- Durable solution search,
- Legal representation,
- Integration assistance,
- “An extra place at your table” mentorship programme,
- Preparation for assistance with a future return home,
- Information for unaccompanied minors and professionals
- Coordination of organisations and professionals working in the field through the Alliance for the Rights of Migrant Children (ADEM),
- Targeted, comprehensive, objective information sharing via the Migrant-children.ch Platform.