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Repatriation of a child without a decision on a residence permit or removal from the country

The Deputy Ombudsman Maija Saklin has concluded that, with regard to cases involving foreign nationals, the practices of the Finnish Immigration Service do not safeguard the rights of the child. On her own initiative, Deputy Ombudsman Sakslin investigated the Finnish Immigration Service’s practice of not issuing a separate decision on a child born after a decision has been taken to remove the child’s family from Finland.
 
- Removal of a child from the country would require a properly grounded decision with regard to the child. In decisions concerning children, the best interests of the child must be assessed on a broad and individual basis, says Sakslin.
 
In general, children face more challenges than adults in terms of securing their rights. In addition, children of asylum seekers are at specific risk of suffering from discrimination affecting their parents. They are also at greater risk of suffering due to treatment to which their parents and relatives are subjected. For this reason, the public authorities and courts should pay particular attention to realising the rights of the child. This is of major importance when a child is in a vulnerable position, as in the case of an asylum seeker.  
 
- According to the Constitution and the rights of the child, each child must be accorded due respect as an individual, regardless of their age and origin, says Sakslin.
 
To safeguard the human dignity and right to special protection guaranteed by the Constitution and international human rights conventions, a separate decision must be taken regarding a child, involving an individual and extensive assessment of the best interests of the child.
 
Deputy Ombudsman Maija Sakslin’s decision EOAK/5948/2016 is available in full in Finnish on the Ombudsman’s website www.oikeusasiamies.fi.