Father refusing to hand over child even after sole custody was given to mother

Concerning M. K. D. A.-A vs Denmark for violation of articles  1, 2, 5 and 16 of CEDAW.

In 2005, the author arrived in Denmark and married Mr. M. A., a Danish national. Shortly after their marriage, Mr. M. A. began to abuse the author emotionally and mentally and threatened her with divorce. They left Denmark in 2007 and lived in various countries including the Philippines where their son was born in 2009. In January 2011, Mr. M. A. returned to Denmark but the author informed him that she was reluctant to live in Denmark owing to their unhappy marriage and conjugal problems. Upon their arrival in Denmark, the author stayed with her friends, while her son stayed with his father. Mr. M. A. telephoned the author and informed her that the child would not be traveling back to the Philippines with her.

The author applied for sole custody of her son. The court ruled in favor of the author, concluding that it would be in the child’s best interests to live with his mother in the Philippines. Mr. M. A. appealed against the decision and refused to hand over the child to the author. Thus a complaint was sent to CEDAW.

The author requested the Committee to facilitate the immediate and urgent introduction of effective laws and measures in the State party towards the prevention of an effective response to kidnapping, threats, stalking, harassment and mental and physical abuse by Danish men of foreign women and children and with regard to her case, so as to ensure that she and her son can live together safely and in peace. The Committee acknowledges the suffering of the author and her son during the period when she had only very limited access to him before they were able to return to the Philippines. However, it cannot continue to consider the present communication for the sake of “other foreign women married to Danish nationals”. Thus the committee declares this communication to be inadmissible.  

22. July 2021

CEDAW 44/2012
  • Decision: 18. October 2013
  • Comm: Gender