4 April 2014

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, has published a report on his visit to Denmark in November 2013 which states that “considerations related to migration control have primacy over the best interests of the child in actions and decisions affecting children in the context of migration and asylum”. Families who cannot be deported from Denmark to their countries of origin can live in asylum centres for indefinite periods of time, the report states. The Commissioner has expressed his concern about the impact this can have on children.

“Even though the material living conditions are adequate, many of these children suffer from psycho-social disorders and other developmental problems due to long-term uncertainty. This situation can hardly be reconciled with the right to a standard of living adequate for the child’s development,” the Commissioner stated when releasing the report.

The report urges Denmark to take measures to put an end to the legal limbo of asylum seekers whose application was rejected. The Commissioner stresses that stays of indefinite duration in asylum centres cannot be considered as a viable option and that lasting solutions need to be identified to ensure that children can fully enjoy their rights as protected under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, in particular their right to quality education and their right to a standard of living adequate for their physical, spiritual, moral and social development

This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 04 April 2014
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