GENEVA (31 Aug 2020) – The UN child rights committee has applauded Argentina’s decision not to deport a mother of three young children who had already completed her sentence for a drug offence.
The Argentinian ruling, in response to a complaint to the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), put the best interests of the children first and has set another benchmark to show how the CRC’s complaints mechanism can efficiently prevent violations of children’s rights.
The mother of three, Rosario, is a Peruvian national who migrated to Argentina in 2000. When entering the country, she was found in possession of drugs, sentenced to prison and subjected to deportation, with a further eight-year prohibition from re-entering the country after her sentence was completed. She was released from prison in 2003. The Argentine National Direction for Migration demanded her deportation in 2004, which she appealed against all the way to the Supreme Court.
During the appeal procedures, Rosario met her partner with whom she had three children, born in 2008, 2009 and 2019. Rosario had repeatedly notified the authorities of the birth of her children and argued that her deportation would violate their human rights. After the Supreme Court declined to review her case in May 2019, confirming Rosario’s deportation, her three children brought complaints to the CRC in July 2019. At that time, the youngest child, a prematurely born baby, was still being breastfed.
The Committee took immediate action and requested Argentina to take interim measures to withhold its deportation decision, stressing the irreparable harm that would be caused to the children if they were separated from her. The country put the deportation on hold and eventually granted permanent residency to Rosario in July 2020.
The children had their own ways of expressing their pleasure that their mother will not be taken away from them: “I like when she plays with us because we have a very good time,” said the 12-year old eldest daughter. “I love my mum, she makes me laugh,” her younger sister added.
“I am very grateful to the people who helped me to remain with my children. Now I can watch my kids grow,” said Rosario.
“Had Rosario been deported, her children would have either had to be separated from their mother or forced to leave Argentina, the only country they know, their country of citizenship and where they were born,” said Committee member and Chairperson of the Working Group on Individual Communications, Ann Skelton. “Both options would have had impacts on the children’s personal integrity, identity and development.”
“We commend Argentina for taking the children’s best interests as a primary consideration to reassess the deportation, and for acknowledging the binding nature of the interim measures requested by the Committee on the Rights of the Child,” Skelton concluded.
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The Committee on the Rights of the Child monitors States parties’ adherence to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols on involvement of children in armed conflict, on sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and on a communications procedure. The Convention to date has 196 States parties. The Committee is made up of 18 members who are independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, who serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States parties. The Committee’s views and decisions on individual communications are an independent assessment of States’ compliance with their human rights obligations under the Convention and its two substantive optional protocols.
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