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The presence of foreign minors in Italy is a constant and continuously growing phenomenon. As at 1st January 2015, minors in Italy are 943,735 accounted for 24% of the total foreign resident population
Furthermore, the different areas of the Country are affected by the presence of foreign minors in different ways, with higher figures in Northern Italian Regions.
Among the foreign minors present in Italy, a significant component is represented by unaccompanied foreign minors. According to the data collected by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, as at 31st December 2015 there were 10,536 unaccompanied foreign minors in Italy, over 90% of which aged more than 15 years. Also in relation to this group, a higher presence of males is highlighted, accounting for more than 95% of the total.
It is paramount to recall that all foreign minors in Italy, irrespective of their entry procedures within the national territory, are protected by the rights enshrined in the New York Convention on the Rights of the Child signed in 1989. Children’s protection, therefore, shall be full and unconditional. The New York Convention introduces the principle of the best interest of minors as a fundamental criterion for the adoption of national regulations. The New York Convention is sided by the European Convention on the Exercise of Children’s Rights, adopted by the Council of Europe in 1996. In the framework of the European Union regulations, outstanding importance is also ascribed to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, adopted in Nice in the year 2000, ruling the rights of children in art. 24.
Also at a national level, by enforcing the supranational regulatory provisions, the protection of minors shall be full and unconditional, irrespective of the procedures through which minors entered the Italian territory. Such principle is also stated in the Consolidated Law on Immigration (Legislative Decree no. 286/1998), providing for the prohibition to expel minors aged less than eighteen from the national territory (art. 19). The Consolidated Law above envisages specific provisions on minors’ protection under Title IV, granting particular rights and guarantees. The Plan for Integration in Security: Identity and Meeting, at last, devotes Axis V to minors and second generations.