Minor cannot be held responsible for decisions taken by his parents

Concerning M.E (represented by counsel Finn Roger Nielsen) vs Denmark for violation of articles 23 and 24 of CCPR.

The author of the communication is a Moroccan national, born on 6 June 1990. The parents of the author divorced before he was born. After the divorce, the author’s father moved to Denmark. The author’s mother obtained custody over him and he lived with his mother’s parents in Morocco. After the death of his maternal grandparents, the author’s mother could not support him and he was placed with his paternal grandmother, who had difficulties taking care of him. The author applied to be reunited with his father in Denmark but the application was rejected because the father had no custody over him.

In 2003, the author’s mother remarried and transferred the custody over the author to his father. The author requested Danish authorities to reopen his application for residence. The request was rejected as the authorities found that the applicant’s father had not proved the ability to maintain him.

The author’s father provided documentation evidencing that he was suffering from epilepsy and, as a result, he had been unemployed for a long time and was supporting his family on social benefits. The author attempted to obtain a review of the Immigration Service’s refusal on humanitarian grounds, presenting a medical certificate that his father was suffering from epilepsy and could not work. The application was rejected yet again. Thus a complaint was sent to CCPR.

The Committee notes that the author cannot be held responsible for any decisions taken by his parents in relation to his custody, upbringing, and residence. In these very specific circumstances, the Committee considers that the decisions not to allow the reunification of the author and his father in the State party’s territory, would constitute interference with the family and is a violation of CCPR, due to a failure to provide the author with the necessary measures of protection as a minor.

24. March 2020

CCPR 1554/2007
  • Decision: 20. August 2010
  • Comm: Human Rights