Separation of children from their father due to his deportation to Nigeria

O.M., a national of Nigeria, v. Denmark on behalf of “stepson”, C.C.O.U., a national of Nigeria, and two children, C.C.A.M. and A.C.C., nationals of Nigeria born in Denmark, for violation of articles 3, 7, 9 and 10 of the Convention.

In 2015, O.M. entered Denmark and applied for asylum. In 2016, the asylum procedure was terminated because the author was reported missing from the asylum centre that he was assigned to. In 2016, the author was sentenced by the City Court of Copenhagen to three months imprisonment for possession of drugs, along with an expulsion order from Denmark with a six-year re-entry ban. In 2017, the Immigration Service ordered that the author remain in the deportation centre and report daily to the police. Then the author was reported missing from the deportation centre again.
In 2019, the City Court to 60 days’ imprisonment convicted the author and another expulsion order and six-year re-entry ban was issued due to lack of respect for the order to remain at the deportation centre and report to the police.
The Western High Court confirmed the expulsion orders and six-year re-entry bans that had previously been issued by the City Court of Copenhagen, however, noted that the author had a family life in Denmark. During proceedings, the author explained that the main reason that he did not stay at the deportation centre was the fact that the medical condition of spouse who suffered from leukaemia, required frequent treatment at the hospital, especially during her pregnancy. The author explained that he took care of his “stepson”, C.C.O.U., during those medical visits and he argued that he had informed the deportation centre of his whereabouts.

In 2019, the Immigration Service rejected the author’s asylum application. That decision was confirmed by the Refugee Appeals Board. The the author filed an application for a residence permit based on exceptional circumstances, stating that he had a family life in Denmark with his child, “stepson” and girlfriend, which would not be able to be maintained if he were to be expelled with a re-entry ban of six years. The Immigration Service refused that request for a residence permit and stated that it was impossible to apply for family reunification in Denmark, as the author did not have a legal permit to stay in the country and had previously received an expulsion order. In 2019, a complaint was filed with the Immigration Appeals Board, requesting suspension of the expulsion decision, which was denied. Another request for suspension was again refused in 2020.

In 2020, A.C.C., the second child of the author was born. The child has a residence permit for Denmark. The author applied to have his expulsion order repealed, due to a fundamental change of circumstances, invoking the birth of a second child. The Courts rejected the request.
The author claims to the CRC that the rights of C.C.O.U., C.C.A.M. and A.C.C. enshrined in articles 3, 7, 9 and 10 of the Convention would be violated if he were deported to Nigeria and argues that the separation of the children from him would be contrary to their best interests. The author contends that his deportation to Nigeria would have a serious impact on the children’s well-being, especially given that their mother is facing a life-threatening illness.
The CRC, acting under article 10 (5) of the Optional Protocol on a communications procedure, is of the view that the facts before it disclose a violation of the rights of C.C.O.U., C.C.A.M. and A.C.C. enshrined in articles 3 and 9 of the Convention. The State party is under an obligation to refrain from returning the author to Nigeria and to ensure a reassessment of his claim, making the best interests of C.C.O.U, C.C.A.M. and A.C.C. a primary consideration.

14. November 2023

CRC 145/2021
  • Decision: 16 Oktober 2023
  • Comm: Child