pRotEcting migrant chiLdrEn AgainSt detention through the EU Charter


In March 2024 – February 2026, the ICJ-EI together with partners implements the two-year-
long RELEASE project (pRotEcting migrant chiLdrEn AgainSt detention through the EU Charter). The project seeks to build on the achievements and results of the recent ICJ’s CADRE
Project which highlighted a need for greater support to lawyers in strengthening their ability,
and that of civil society more generally, to engage in strategic litigation to end the immigration
detention of children. This is because the absence of case law, regulatory standards, and
public awareness may hinder practitioners from pursuing legal action against minors’
imprisonment in immigration detention.

The project partners are:
Aditus Foundation (aditus) – Malta
Défense des Enfants International (DEI Belgique) – Belgium
Forum for Human Rights (FORUM) – Czech Republic
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (HFHR) – Poland
Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) – Greece
Foundation for Access to Rights (FAR) – Bulgaria

Together, the consortium of partners seeks to deepen and expand the existing work with a
strong focus on strategic litigation and alternatives to detention (AtD) for migrant
children at risk of being subjected to unlawful detention or whose rights may be violated in
alternatives to detention. The project’s main objective is to contribute to a favourable EU
environment to protect migrant children from detention by:
1. increasing the ability of specialised migration lawyers, civil society, and NHRIs from
the six selected EU Member States to develop and implement efficient litigation
strategies in relation to (alternatives to) the detention of migrant children in order to
promote and protect their rights based on Article 24 of the EU Charter and the UN
Convention on the Rights of the Child;
2. raising awareness among lawyers, civil society, and public authorities in the target
MSs about the detrimental effects of detention on children.

The key long-term impact sought is to make sure that the best interests of the child
principle becomes a more judicially relevant element in the case-law of the UN CRC, the
ECtHR, and the CJEU, and to explore other litigation venues (ECSR, HRC, CAT).

The main activities include:
• six national trainings in six EU Member States;
• three transnational exchange workshops;
• follow-up mentoring;
• updates to the case-law database;
• publication of a Guide for lawyers on strategic litigation related to detention of children
in migration;
• a communications campaign and audio-visual materials with information for migrant

This project is co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are, however, those of
the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European
Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.