Sh. D. and Others v. Greece (Appl. no. 14165/16) - Third party intervention: the AIRE Centre, ECRE, and ICJ

The AIRE Centre (Advice for Individual Rights in Europe), the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), and International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) submitted a third party intervention before the European Court of Human Rights regarding the detention of five undocumenten children in Greece. 

The case, Sh. D. and others v. Greece, relates to five unaccompanied Afghan minors between 14 and 17 who arrived in Greece at the beginning of the year. One of the applicants was placed in custody in a centre for minors in Polygyros and was later transferred to a reception centre for minors. The others are currently at the Idomeni camp near the border with FYROM. The first applicant complains that the conditions and lawfulness of his detention at Polygyros violate Articles 3 and 5 ECHR. The other applicants allege that the living conditions in the Idomeni camp are contrary to Article 3 ECHR.

The three human right organisations submitted the following observations:

  • The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) must be implemented in all of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) decisions that concern children. Since the principle of the best interests of the child must be upheld as a primary consideration in all actions concerning children, children must never be deprived of their liberty, under 5(1) ECHR, without a rigorous examination of the individual circumstances of the case, of necessity and proportionality, including a mandatory and prior assessment of less coercive measures. 
  • For children to have effective enjoyment of their rights under international law, in particular the ECHR, and EU law, including the right to liberty and security and the right to asylum, their needs, welfare and well-being must be individually assessed. The discharge of State obligations to ensure enjoyment of these rights is reliant on the appointment of a guardian with the necessary expertise and who has the specific duty to assist the child by enabling him or her to access rights under EU law.
  • Since measures affecting the right to liberty and other Convention rights must be undertaken in accordance with national law, they must also, where Contracting Parties are EU Member States, be undertaken in accordance with EU law.

You can read an extended summary of the judgment here.

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