UN Human Rights Committee: O.Y.K.A. v. Denmark (removal to Greece would violate Articles 7 and 24 ICCPR)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

On 7 November 2017, the UN Human Rights Committee reached its decision regarding communication no. 2770/2016 (OYKA v. Denmark). The case concerned a Syrian national who applied for asylum in Greece in 2015 and who became homeless and lived on the streets for about two months after seeking support from the Greek authorities without success. Due to the living conditions in Greece, the applicant travelled to Denmark where he lodged an application for asylum. His application was rejected on the grounds that Greece was his first country of asylum. While appealing against this decision, he explained that he had given an incorrect date of birth to the Greek authorities and that he was in fact an unaccompanied minor. The applicant complained before the Human Rights Committee that his deportation to Greece would violate his rights under Articles 7 and 24 ICCPR, due to a risk of homelessness and detention in Greece.

The Human Rights Committee noted that several reports indicate that people granted refugee status in Greece are not provided with accommodation by the local authorities. In particular, it took into account reports such as the UNHCR Recommendations for Greece in 2017 according to which the treatment of certain categories of vulnerable persons, such as unaccompanied minors, is inadequate. 

Finally, the Committee considered that the applicant’s inconsistencies with regard to his age did not exempt Denmark from taking other reasonable measures to remove doubts concerning his age and his right to obtain the special measures of protection that would have been available for a minor, including taking into account information regarding the conditions of reception of migrant minors in Greece. Therefore, it found that the applicant’s deportation to Greece, without taking such special measures and reviewing the applicant’s claim, would violate his rights under Articles 7 and 24 ICCPR.


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Best interest of the child
Dublin Transfer
Reception conditions
Vulnerable person