An afternoon with Belgrade Centre for Human Rights

After months of preparation, JustRight Scotland opened its doors today!

We got off to a quick start with an afternoon meeting with the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights at the offices of the Scottish Guardianship Service.

Nikolina Milić, Bogdan Krasić and Vlada Šahović are in the UK to get an understanding of the various models of working with unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASCs).  The Belgrade Centre for Human Rights is at the forefront of protecting human rights in Serbia, and the transit of asylum seeking children through Serbia is a key challenge to be met as the global humanitarian crisis continues.  They were keen to take learning from what structural and other safeguards are in place in Scotland and the UK to protect children, and what can be improved upon.

Andy and Sarah from the JustRight Scotland team met with Nikolina, Bogdan and Vlada – together with Catriona MacSween from the Scottish Guardianship Service – to discuss how things work in Scotland.  We covered the key areas of age assessment of children, human trafficking, and Guardianship, and how these impact their care arrangements and asylum claims in the UK.  We particularly focused on the extent to which existing procedures in the UK and Serbia are “child-centred” and what can be done to improve our respective systems.

Our experience tells us that many UASCs travel through Serbia and neighbouring countries, including Bulgaria and Hungary, on their way to the UK.  It is common for these children to be detained and suffer terrible violence in the process.  The Belgrade Centre for Human Rights and its partner agencies, including the UNHCR, are trying to combat this and ensure the protection of children as they flee their countries for safety.  We at JustRight Scotland fully support their work and will continue to fight for this vulnerable group here in Scotland.

To find out more about the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, visit their website here.

To find out more about the Scottish Guardianship Service, visit here.