Illegal children born outside marriage

Concerning X.C. and L.G. vs. Denmark for violation of articles 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8 of CRC.

The authors, born 2014, and 2015, are Chinese nationals, both born in Denmark. The authors’ mother W.M.C. entered Denmark in 2012.

The mother sought asylum in Denmark on the grounds that she feared being forced to have an abortion if she were returned to China and got pregnant again. Following the birth of her two children, she feared that she would be persecuted by Chinese authorities because she was unmarried and had two children. She further alleged that the children would be forcibly removed from her or that they would not be registered in the hukou (family household register), which is essential for ensuring their birth registration and access to basic services such as health, education and social services.

The Danish Immigration Service refused asylum to the authors’ mother, and the Refugee Appeals Board upheld the decision. The Board observes that the sanctions, the authors will experience when returned, seems unreasonable in a Danish context, but the Board does not find that these conditions are of such nature to be considered persecution or ill-treatment.

A report of the United States Department of State states that children born to single mothers or unmarried couples are in China considered outside of the policy and are subject to the social compensation fee. Many are denied a household registration document and the denial of legal documents, such as birth documents and the hukou. Although the Government has stated it is making it easier for illegitimate children to be registered, the implementation of this is inconsistent and there can still be obstacles.

In 2019, the mother had her third child, W.G., and since the two authors now have a smaller brother, the three siblings together form a violation of the current family policy in China.

The Committee is of the view that the facts before it reveal a violation of article 3 of the Convention, and that the return of the mother and her children to China would also amount to a violation of articles 6 and 8 of the Convention.

20. June 2023

CRC 31/2017
  • Decision: 28 September 2020
  • Comm: Child