All actions concerning children shall be guided by the principle of the best interests of the child. The principle applies to all children—including refugee, internally displaced, stateless, and asylum-seeking children. Everyday, UNHCR and partner staff encounter situations where decisions for individual children need to be guided by the best interests principle.
Such decisions may involve arranging alternative care for an unaccompanied or separated child, assessing the protection needs of a child at risk, or identifying a durable solution for a separated child. These decisions will have long lasting impacts for the individual child and therefore cannot be taken lightly. Safeguards and procedures need to be in place to ensure that the best interests principle will be duly applied to the child’s individual situation. Ensuring that the child can voice his or her own opinions in this process is one of the key safeguards in this process.