Daughter circumcised without parents’ knowledge

Concerning S.H.K. vs Denmark for violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
On the 29 January 2021 the Danish Refugee Board notified the Somali citizen S.H.K., born 15 June 2019, a refusal of a residence permit. The applicant’s parents, as well as four siblings, are residing in Denmark.
The applicant’s parents stated that they feared that the applicant would be circumcised on her return to Somalia. The fear was based on cultural demands for circumcision, which was maintained by the family of the parents. The parents were shocked, when they found out that the applicant’s sister, S, was circumsided as 4-year old, by her grandmother. Without the parents’ knowledge or assent. Therefore, the parents are afraid that they don’t have the power to resist the applicant getting circumcised. They sought protection in Denmark because S was circumcised and want to save the applicant from suffering the same fate.
The parents has further pointed out that they cannot oppose circumcision, as they cannot decide anything that is contrary to the culture of Somalia, and that they will risk being cut off from large sections of society if they refuses to allow the applicant to be circumcised.

The majority of the Refugee Board does not find that this can lead to an asylum, as the parents were not in Somalia at the time and thus did not have the opportunity to protect S.
Thus, the case was brought to the Committee. They accepted the case 7 March 2021 and the State party has been requested to refrain from returning the applicant and her family, while the case is in progress. The CRC is of the view that the facts before it disclose a violation of articles 3 and 19 of the Convention.

In August 2023, the Danish Refugee Board reconsidered the S.H.K.’s case and found that there is a significant risk that F.M.A.’s daughter will be subjected to circumcision upon a return to Somalia. F.M.A.’s daughter therefore meets the conditions for being granted a residence permit in accordance with Section 7, subsection of the Aliens Act. 1. Thus, the Refugee Board granted F.M.A., S.H.K. and to H.K.A. a residence permit pursuant to section 7, subsection of the Aliens Act. 1.

3. November 2023

CRC 140/2021
  • Decision: 8 August 2023
  • Comm: Child