CRC: The Committee finds that rights of the child cannot be made dependent on parent’s ability to resist social pressure where there is a risk of FGM if deported to Somalia

Thursday, February 4, 2021

On the 4 February 2021 the Committee on the Rights of the Child published its views in communication CRC/C/86/D/83/2019 against Denmark.
The author, R.H.M., a Somali national, submitted the communication on behalf of her daughter Y.A.M.. The author and her daughter are subject to a deportation order from Denmark to Somalia. The author travelled to Denmark in 2013 and applied for asylum. She was later granted a residence permit and gave birth to Y.A.M. in 2016. The Danish Immigration Service subsequently decided to revoke the author and her children’s residence permits. R.H.M. unsuccessfully appealed this decision and in 2017,  she filed a separate application for asylum on behalf of Y.A.M. claiming that, if returned to Somalia, Y.A.M. would face a risk of undergoing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and would be removed from her care. The Refugee Appeals Board held that because R.H.M. was against the practice of FGM, she would be able to oppose the social pressure that would have her daughter undergo this practice and thus, rejected her application.
The Committee recalled that the assessment of the risk of or irreparable harm to the child should be conducted in an age and gender sensitive manner and emphasised that States should give the utmost attention to child specific forms and manifestations of persecution as well as gender-based violence in refugee status determination procedures.
The Committee noted that while the incidents of FGM in Somalia have declined, the practice is still deeply ingrained in Somali society. The Committee considered that rights of the child under article 19 CRC could not be made dependent on the mother’s ability to resist family and social pressure. As such, the Committee concluded that Denmark had failed to consider the best interests of the child when assessing the alleged risk of the author’s daughter being subjected to FGM if deported to Somalia. It therefore concluded that the deportation of Y.A.M. to Somalia would amount to a violation of articles 3 and 19 of the CRC. The Committee also highlighted that Denmark was under the obligation to ensure that Y.A.M. was not separated by her mother or her minor brother.

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Best interest of the child