The Council of Europe has adopted a recommendation for its member countries to offer temporary support to young refugees after they reach adulthood.
When refugees who arrived as children turn 18, they often face sudden changes in their rights and in their access to essential services, as they are no longer eligible for support or rights that are granted to children. When support across diverse sectors such as education, employment, housing and healthcare abruptly ends, young refugees may end up in situations of exploitation, abuse and other harm.
Recognising the gaps in support for this vulnerable group, the Council of Europe recommends that member states act to ensure the rights and opportunities of young refugees as they transition into adulthood. This includes protection from discrimination and abuse, ensuring access to education and social services (including legal advice), helping with the transition to the labour market, safeguarding the right to family reunification and improving the legal framework of states.
The recommendation also emphasises the role of youth work and non-formal education in helping young refugees to transition into adulthood, as well as the importance of encouraging young refugees to be culturally, socially and politically active in their host societies.