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African Human Rights Law Journal

On-line version ISSN 1996-2096
Print version ISSN 1609-073X


SWART, Sarah. Unaccompanied minor refugees and the protection of their socio-economic rights under human rights law. Afr. hum. rights law j. [online]. 2009, vol.9, n.1, pp.103-128. ISSN 1996-2096.

This paper reflects the results of a study, the main objective of which was to investigate the practical treatment of unaccompanied minor refugees in Ghana and South Africa, and to explore whether such treatment is in accordance with existing international norms and standards for the protection of refugee children. The study focused on the realisation of children's socio-economic rights in order to measure treatment. The paper seeks to address the obstacles which prevent the proper treatment of unaccompanied minor refugees, and to make recommendations as to how the international community can better regulate the treatment of unaccompanied minor refugees. In essence, this paper aims to investigate whether there is a discrepancy between the rights of child refugees acknowledged in international law, and the situation of unaccompanied minor refugees in practice and, if so, how this can be remedied. The paper seeks to show, through the case studies of Ghana and South Africa, that unaccompanied minor refugees are, to a certain extent, lost in the system.

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