28 July 2021
Bulgaria, Denmark and France have all recently been found to have violated human rights by Europe's top court: Bulgaria for pushing back a journalist to Turkey; Denmark for making a refugee and his family wait almost three years before permitting their reunification; and France for detaining a young mother and her baby for 11 days whilst they tried to deport them both to Italy.
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"In today’s Chamber judgment in the case of D v. Bulgaria (application no. 29447/17) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:
a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment) and a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The case concerned the arrest at the border between Bulgaria and Romania of a Turkish journalist claiming to be fleeing from a risk of political persecution in his own country, and his immediate removal to Turkey. The events occurred three months after the 2016 attempted coup in Turkey. Before the Court, the applicant complained that the Bulgarian authorities had refused to initiate asylum proceedings and had returned him to Turkey, thus exposing him to a real risk of illtreatment.
The Court held in particular that despite the fact that the applicant had expressed fears that he might face ill-treatment in the event of being returned to Turkey, the Bulgarian authorities had not examined his application for international protection."
Further information (pdfs):
Denmark: Authorities violated Convention with mandatory waiting period for family reunification (press release, pdf)
"In today’s Grand Chamber judgment in the case of M.A. v. Denmark (application no. 6697/18) the European Court of Human Rights held, by a majority of 16 votes to 1, that there had been:
a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family lhife) of the European Convention on Human Rights.The case concerned a delay of three years imposed in 2016 pursuant to Danish law on the applicant’s right to family reunification owing to his temporary protection status.
The Court found in particular that, given the lack of an individualised assessment of the applicant’s case and the length of the wait to be able to avail of his right to family reunification, the authorities had failed to strike a fair balance between the needs of the applicant individually and the economic well-being of the country in their assessment of his application to be reunited with his wife."
Further information (pdfs):
"In today’s Chamber judgment1 in the case of M.D. and A.D. v. France (application no. 57035/18) the European Court of Human Rights held, by a majority, that there had been:
a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights;
a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security); and
a violation of Article 5 § 4 (right to a speedy review of the lawfulness of detention).
The case concerned the administrative detention of a mother and her four-month-old daughter in the Mesnil-Amelot no. 2 administrative detention centre pending their transfer to Italy, the country responsible for examining their application for asylum.
Having regard to the very young age of the child, the reception conditions at the Mesnil-Amelot no. 2 administrative detention centre and the length of the detention (11 days), the Court found that the competent authorities had subjected the child and her mother to treatment exceeding the level of severity required for Article 3 of the Convention to apply.
The Court also found a violation of paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 5 of the Convention. In principle, it was not the Court’s task to substitute its own assessment for that of the national authorities.
However, in view of the circumstances of the case, the Court held that the evidence before it was sufficient to conclude that the domestic authorities had not carried out a proper examination, as required by the legal rules now applicable in France, to satisfy themselves that the initial administrative detention of the mother, accompanied by her infant daughter, and its subsequent extension were measures of last resort which could not be replaced by a less restrictive alternative.
The Court observed that neither the liberties and detention judge at the Meaux tribunal de grande instance nor the judge delegated by the President of the Paris Court of Appeal had had sufficient regard, while performing their function of judicial review, to the second applicant’s status as a minor in the assessment of the lawfulness of the initial administrative detention and the decision to order its extension for 28 days, a period that had ended after 11 days following the indication of an interim measure by the Court. It had been the task of the domestic courts to carry out an effective review ofthe lawfulness of the child’s initial and continued detention while considering whether a less restrictive alternative such as a compulsory residence order might be envisaged, a measure to which the applicants had previously been subjected. The minor applicant had therefore not had the benefit of a judicial review encompassing all the conditions required for administrative detention to be lawful for the purposes of Article 5 § 1 of the Convention."
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