Blogpost: Rights of accompanied minor children in asylum procedures

(18-01-2021)

https://pixabay.com/nl/vectors/jongen-kind-vader-dochter-familie-1300401In V.A. v. Switzerland (CRC/C/85/D/56/2018), the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child found a violation of Articles 12 and 3 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Two accompanied children aged 8 and 3 were not heard pending a Dublin-transfer. The Committee states that Article 12 CRC does not contain an age limit and that young children must also be heard in asylum procedures. The Committee emphasises that the interests of children do not necessarily coincide with those of their parent(s), even if they migrate together, but should be assessed separately under Article 3 CRC. Moreover, the fact that the Swiss authorities had not heard the two children on their traumatic migratory experiences demonstrated a lack of due diligence in assessing their best interests, amounting to a violation of Articles 3 and 12 of the CRC.

However, the Committee does not elaborate on how States Parties should implement the obligations under Articles 12 and 3 CRC. Thus, it remains unclear when the authorities will fulfil their obligations towards young children in an asylum procedure, taking into account their age and maturity. This decision also raises questions about a narrowing of the children's rights debate to violations of Articles 3 and 12 CRC, where other provisions of the Convention are (or may be) relevant but remain undiscussed. Moreover, children’s rights would benefit from a more structured, consistent and in-depth approach in the quasi-judicial decisions of its global expert body.

Nevertheless, the Committee's decision is a notable improvement regarding the specific rights of accompanied minors and will hopefully contribute to a greater respect for the rights of this often invisible group of children in asylum proceedings.

The blogpost can be found here: https://www.childrensrightsobservatory.nl/case-notes/casenote2021-1

The Comittee’s decision in V.A. v. Switserland can be found here: https://juris.ohchr.org/Search/Details/2762