Third party intervention on detention of unaccompanied children: H.A. and Others v Greece

On 6 April, the ICJ, ECRE, the AIRE Centre and the Dutch Council for Refugees have submitted a third party intervention in the case of H. A. and Others v. Greece, which relates to the detention of nine unaccompanied minors (aged between 15 and 18), from Syria, Iraq and Morocco in Greek police stations.

The organisations argue that:

  • A comprehensive assessment of the best interests of the child will presumptively exclude any resort to detention for children, when the detaining measures are being contemplated not in the context of furthering the child’s best interests but in the context of immigration control.
  • The administrative detention of migrant children for immigration control purposes cannot fall within the scope of permissible detention under Article 5(1)(d) ECHR, which is intrinsically linked with the child’s educational supervision and protection needs.
  • Before any administrative measure is taken concerning unaccompanied children, the State must appoint a guardian and provide the unaccompanied children with access to appropriate information in a language they understand.
  • If the State fails to appoint a competent guardian for an unaccompanied child and/ or access to information is not adequately guaranteed, the State has failed to meet the procedural safeguards designed to assess, and determine the child’s best interests.
  • Under EU law, EU Member States are obliged to provide conditions, procedures and information to children in order for them to have effective access to their rights under the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.

Greece-HA_v_Greece-ECtHR-amicus-ICJ&others-final-eng-2017 (download the third party intervention)

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