Fears return to Italy with small son

Concerning F.M.H. and her son vs. Denmark for violation of article 7 of CCPR.

The author fled Somalia in 2008 and applied for asylum upon arrival in Lampedusa, Italy. She stayed about a year at an asylum center, and in 2009, the author was granted a temporary residence permit. When the author received the residence permit, she was informed by the staff that she could no longer stay at the center. She was only 17 years old.

For a long period of time, she spent the night at a shelter, but if there were no more room, she had to sleep on the streets. The author actively sought help from the Italian authorities and tried to find a job, without success.

Although she lived for several years in Italy, the author’s situation was in no way sustainable. She experienced harassment in the streets, had no permanent place to sleep and no income. In the absence of a long-term solution, she decided to leave for Denmark in 2015 when she discovered she was pregnant and had family living in Denmark. The author’s mother, father and six siblings all have residence permits in Denmark. The Immigration Service rejected the application because she had residence permit in Italy.

The author fears that, upon return to Italy she will end up alone with her son, which will be extremely difficult to manage. She does not know how she will be able to provide for her son when she is not even able to provide for herself.

The Committee observes that there may be a lack of available places in the reception facilities for asylum seekers, but also notes that the author was able to find work and accommodation for periods of time and had access to medical and educational services, and also that she was in good health. In addition, her husband, who is the child’s father, lives in Italy. The fact that the author may possibly be confronted with serious difficulties upon return by itself does not necessarily mean that she would be in a special situation of vulnerability – and in a situation significantly different to many other refugee families. Accordingly, the Committee cannot conclude that the removal of the author to Italy by the State party would constitute a violation of article 7 of the Covenant.

7. July 2020

CCPR 2734/2016
  • Decision: 18. October 2018
  • Comm: Human Rights