With this judgment an unaccompanied asylum-seeking child was placed in a family-type accommodation center for children and young people aged 7 to 18 years in preparation for reintegration into a family environment. The court took into consideration that the child lacked shelter, financial support, relatives or any other close people who can support the child, as well as the fact that the child’s return to Afghanistan imposed a risk to his life, because there were no relatives or adults able to provide him with adequate care.
Countries Archives: Bulgaria
The ruling concerns the right to legal representation and to a lawyer of two detained unaccompanied migrant children (12 and 14 years old) who, as minors, did not have the legal capacity to sign a power of attorney of a lawyer (this must be done by their legal representative and they had none assigned). The first instance court had not admitted for review the appeal against their detention order on the ground that the lawyer was not properly authorized by the children. The Supreme court, however, invoked the best interests of the child principle, appointed ex officio the lawyer chosen by the children as their lawyer in the case and admitted their appeal against the detention order for review.
In the case of an unaccompanied child registered as an asylum seeker, the court stated that the Bulgarian legislation is applicable to all children residing in the country and in this sense, since the child was at risk, appropriate protection measures under the Law on Child Protection should be taken. The court took into consideration that currently there is no other option to protect the child and that there is real danger for his life and health because of the absence of parental care and supervision. Therefore, in respect of his right to proper physical, emotional and intellectual development, the court placed the child into the mainstream child protection services.
The court found a violation of the child’s right to legal aid envisaged in the Child Protection Act. The asylum authorities presented no evidence that the child received any information about his right to receive free legal aid, nor was he informed about the respective procedure on how to apply for such legal aid.
The court repealed the order for immigration detention of a mother and her child. The detention order did not contain reasoning as to the exceptionality of the situation that required detention and the administrative body had made no assessment to protect the interests of the child.
The administrative body had discussed only the mother’s refugee story, without providing reasoning for its decision to refuse status to her children. The Court concludes that the administrative body did not respect and protect the best interests of the children: failing to consider the individual circumstances of the children is a significant violation of the administrative procedural rules.