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Organisations / Bodies / Institutions Archives: European Court of Human Rights

S.F. and others v. Bulgaria, ECtHR, Application No. 8138/16, Judgment of 7 December 2017

The case concerns three Iraqi children who had fled Iraq accompanied by their parents, who were intercepted by the police at the Bulgarian-Serbian border and detained (with their parents) in a Border Police detention facility. The Court found that Bulgaria had violated Article 3 of the ECHR (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) by detaining the family in a police station for 32 to 41 hours where the conditions were unsuitable for children. The Court stated that immigration detention of minors, accompanied or not, raises particular problems, as the Court has recognized that children are extremely vulnerable and need specific care.

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R.R. and Others v. Hungary, ECtHR, Application no. 36037/17, Judgment of 2 March 2021

Keeping asylum-seeking family in the transit zone amounts to detention in breach of Articles 5(1) and 5(4). Significant case, as the Court finally joined the broad consensus regarding the nature of placement in the Hungarian transit zones, contrary to the findings in Ilias and Ahmed ECtHR GC judgement, where it concluded that transit zones are not detention. The Court also found that the conditions in the transit zone amounted to a violation of Article 3. It found that given the physical conditions of the containers in which the applicants were accommodated, the unsuitability of the facilities for children, the lack of professional psychological assistance and the duration of the stay in the transit zone, the threshold of severity required to engage Article 3 had been reached.

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Bistieva and Others v.Poland, ECtHR, Application no. 75157/14, Judgment of 10 April 2018

The Polish authorities had failed to assess the impact of the detention on the family and the children in particular, not fulfilled their obligation to consider the family’s detention as a measure of last resort and had not considered alternative measures. Child detention is permitted for the shortest amount of time and only if the detention conditions are appropriate and less coercive measures are not available.

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O.M. v. Hungary, ECtHR, Application No. 9912/15, Judgment of 5 July 2016

The Court recalls that detention is authorised under subparagraph (b) of Article 5 § 1 only to ‘secure the fulfilment’ of the obligation prescribed by law. It follows that, at the very least, there must be an unfulfilled obligation incumbent on the person concerned, and the arrest and detention must be for the purpose of securing its fulfilment and must not be punitive in character. As soon as the relevant obligation has been fulfilled, the basis for detention under Article 5 § 1 (b) ceases to exist.

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