Abdulahi Addow, Kerry Neal, and Jyothi Kanics at the 5th Expert Meeting for the ‘Child exploitation: Cross-national child protection in practice – PROTECT Children on the Move’ project. 

During 2014-15 the Children’s Unit at the Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS) Secretariat organised five expert meetings in cooperation with partners in Europe and beyond with support from the European Return Fund. Four of the expert meetings addressed the best interest assessment/determination and the standards, procedures and safeguards in returns and transfers. Reports and documents from these meetings are available here.

The fifth and final meeting summed up the findings and lessons learned from the expert meetings and looked into ways of achieving a holistic approach and policy coherence. The meeting added value by focusing on how to include children’s experiences in research and practice. A multimodal person-centered approach with all stakeholders “under one roof”  including the child making assessments and decisions was suggested in order to ensure a dignified stay or return. Such a multi-sectorial and child-friendly approach was seen as important for minimizing the risk of re-traumatization. 

Dates: 10 – 11 March 2015

Venue: Council of Baltic Sea States, Slussplan 9, Stockholm

Facilitator: Turid Heiberg, CBSS 



Summary Report

Presentations from the meeting


Welcome and introduction of participants
Turid Heiberg, Head of Unit, Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat

Key note speech, comments and practices: A human rights perspective on the rights of all children on a national territory irrespective of legal status
Kerry Neal, Unicef, New York
Fredrik Malmberg, Ombudsman for Children, Sweden
Maria Engleson, Legal adviser for the city of Malmö, Sweden

Presentation of the draft Guidelines and the Online Tool
Turid Heiberg, Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat
Daja Wenke, Independent Child Rights Consultant
Shawnna von Blixen, Project assistant, CBSS
Odeta Tarvydien, Lithuania State Child Protection and Adoption Service
Edgars Jakubauskis, Latvian State Border Guard
Johan Christiansson, Stockholm Social Emergency Authority, Sweden

Children’s experiences and needs in focus. Are the children missing or are we missing the children?
Facilitators: Abdulahi Addow and Turid Heiberg

Abdulahi Addow, Voices of young refugees in Europe, Sweden
Katarina Munier: Programme Officer, the National Board of Health and Welfare, Sweden
Elin Wernqvist-Roberts, Secretary General, Children’s Rights Bureau, Sweden and
Ida Hellrup, Legal adviser, Children’s Rights Bureau, Sweden
Mehdi Ghazinour, Professor, Umeå University, Sweden
Emily Bowerman, Senior Officer, Refugee Support Network, UK and
Abdul Ghafour, Monitoring Officer, Refugee Support Network, Afghanistan

Reflections from the CBSS Expert Group for Cooperation on Children at Risk (EGCC) representing the 11 Member states of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden.

Facilitated by Anniki Lai, Chair of EGCC and Head of Department, Ministry of Social Affairs, Estonia.

Bragi Gudbrandsson, EGCC Representative from Iceland, Government Agency for Child Protection, responds to Mehdi Ghazinour’s presentation.


Key note speech with comments: From protecting children on the move towards safeguarding their rights: The case for a holistic approach
Ioannis N. Dimitrakopoulos, Head of Equality and Citizens’ Rights Department, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights
Jyothi Kanics, independent child rights advocate
Karolina Lindholm Billing, Deputy Regional Representative, UNHCR

Lessons learned in transnational child protection: Promoting policy coherence and implementation into practice
Jan Murk, Children’s Rights Advocate, NIDOS
Judith Almasi, Head of the Regional Office for Central and South Eastern Europe, Terre des Hommes
Mikaela Hagan, Coordinator of the international CONNECT project, Save the Children
Freddy Austli, Head of Programme, Child Helpline International
Philip Ishola, CEO, Counter Human Trafficking Bureau, UK

5th PROTECT Children on the Move Expert Meeting in Stockholm


Organisers: Council of Baltic Sea States Secretariat, the State Border Guard in Latvia, Stockholm Social Emergency Center, State Child Protection and Adoption Service in Lithuania

Funding: The European Return Fund – Community Actions of the European Commission Directorate-General Home Affairs and the Council of Baltic Sea States


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