Finland: Supreme Administrative Court rules on children’s right to be heard during the asylum procedure

Thursday, June 15, 2017

On 15 June 2017, the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland ruled on case KHO: 2017: 81 regarding a minor’s right to be heard during the asylum procedure. The case concerned an Iraqi man and his child who had their asylum application rejected in Finland and who received a return order to Iraq. The applicants fled Iraq due to previous persecution on religious grounds for being Sunni Muslims. During the asylum proceedings, the minor was not heard by the Finnish asylum authorities as they claimed that the applicants’ asylum claims did not involve the child when considering the father’s statements in the asylum interview. The applicants unsuccessfully appealed before the Administrative Court on the grounds that the minor had to be heard since he had been threatened and bullied at school because of his Sunni background.
The Supreme Administrative Court considered that the asylum claims also concerned the child and that hearing the minor should not have been considered to be manifestly unnecessary.  Based on, inter alia, the Finnish Aliens Act Section 6 (2), the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Articles 3 and 13) and the general comments by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Finnish Supreme Administrative Court ruled that children must be given the right to express their views during immigration and asylum procedures for a proper consideration of their best interests. In the present case, the view of the child had not been examined and taken into account in accordance with the age and maturity of the child. Therefore, the Court quashed the decisions by the (lower) Administrative Court and the Immigration Service and returned the case to the Immigration Service for reassessment of their asylum application.

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the weekly ELENA legal update supported by the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Funding Programme and distributed by email. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE, the IRC or its partners.



Best interest of the child
Child Specific Considerations
Effective access to procedures
Procedural guarantees
Vulnerable person