Today, the Court of Justice for the EU has ruled that unaccompanied children who have already claimed asylum in another European state should not be returned to that country for their case to be resolved, as it is not in their best interests. The judge ruled that the country in which they are currently lodging an asylum claim is responsible for that child’s case, unless the child has a family member in the other Member State, as is already enshrined in European law.
The case was brought on behalf of three Refugee Council clients from Eritrea and Iraq who claimed asylum in the UK, and who appealed against the decision by the Home Office to transfer them to the first country they claimed asylum in under the controversial ‘Dublin II regulation’. The Refugee Council has long campaigned for a child’s best interests to be a priority in Dublin cases like these, and has helped a number of individual children challenge their removal.
In response, Judith Dennis, Policy Officer at the Refugee Council says:
“This is a welcome clarification of European law by the court, but one that should not have been necessary. The Refugee Council has long argued that children should not be transferred from one country to another with no regard for their welfare and safety. We are disappointed that the UK government did not see sense earlier. Had they acted in the child’s best interests they would have avoided a protracted legal case.”