GENEVA (8 April 2020) – The UN child rights committee has applauded Denmark’s decision to grant asylum to the mother of six Syrian refugee children living in the country.
The Danish government’s ruling, in response to a complaint to the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), put the best interests of the children first, the Committee said, and had set a benchmark to show how the CRC’s complaints mechanism could efficiently remedy violations of children’s rights.
“We congratulate Denmark on their timely action,” said Committee member Ann Skelton. “By taking children’s best interests as a primary consideration to reassess the mother’s asylum claim, Denmark provided effective reparation in compliance with the Committee’s request.”
“This is one of the quickest cases to be resolved by our individual complaints mechanism and is an enormous step forward in establishing the effectiveness of our system to provide quick redress for children,” she added.
In August 2018, 16-year-old Ali Hassan, together with his five siblings, then aged three to 14, submitted their complaint to the CRC as the Danish government was about to deport their mother.
The six children, Syrian nationals of Kurdish ethnicity, fled Syria to Demark with their parents in 2015. While the father took the two oldest children directly to Denmark, the four youngest fled with their mother through Turkey and Greece and were granted refugee status in Greece. The mother and the four children then continued on to Denmark to rejoin their family and in October 2015 the whole family applied for asylum.
The father and two older children were given refugee status but Danish authorities rejected the applications of the four younger children and their mother, as Greece was their first country of asylum. The family appealed to the Refugee Appeals Board, which gave the four younger children “family reunification status” to stay with their father in Denmark. Their mother, however, was ordered to return to Greece.
The children took the case to the CRC in August 2018, saying separation from their mother would violate their rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Shortly after the committee registered the case, the Danish Refugee Appeals Board reopened the asylum proceedings in June 2019, ruling the mother should not be deported and her asylum application should be processed in Denmark. The mother was subsequently given asylum later last year. The Committee closed the case in February 2020.
As of March 2020, there are 116 complaints registered with the Committee on the Rights of the Child. About 35 per cent are related to asylum applications.
The full decision by the Committee is now available online.
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The Committee on the Rights of the Child monitors States parties’ adherence to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols on involvement of children in armed conflict, on sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and on a communications procedure. The Convention to date has 196 States parties. The Committee is made up of 18 members who are independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, who serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States parties. The Committee’s views and decisions on individual communications are an independent assessment of States’ compliance with their human rights obligations under the Convention and its two substantive optional protocols.
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