On the 9th of June 2023, the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) published its communication No. 140/2021. The case concerned a Somali couple, F.M.A. and H.K.A., whose temporary residence permits were not extended and H.K.A.’s asylum application was rejected. They submitted an asylum application on behalf of their Somali daughter S.H.K., born in Denmark, as they fear that she will be subject to female genital mutilation in Somalia by arguing that F.M.A., S.H. K’s grandmother and older sister had been subjected to female genital mutilation in Somalia. Denmark however refused S.H.K.’s asylum application.

The CRC first observed that the Refugee Appeals Board’s assessment was limited to the fact that the parents are against circumcision and that they will be able to resist the pressure of the surrounding environment to circumcise S.H.K., but without properly assessing or justifying why and how they could resist such pressure, without evaluating the specific and personal context to which the parents and S.H.K. would be returned to, and without taking the best interests of the child into account. The Committee noted that the Appeals Board based its decision on the parent’s weakened credibility after making an overall assessment of their different statements, in particular during their own asylum applications. However, the Committee recalled that determining the best interests of children requires that their situation is assessed separately. Particularly, the Committee observed that the Refuge Appeals Board did not conduct further inquiries as to the specific context of S.H.K.’s older sister’s forced circumcision and how that could have affected the assessment of the individual risk. Lastly, the CRC stated that Denmark did not demonstrate that the standard of precaution was met.  The Committee therefore concluded that Denmark failed to consider the best interests of the child when assessing S.H.K.’s alleged risk if deported and to take proper safeguards to ensure the child’s well-being upon return and so S.H.K.’s return would violate Articles 3 and 19 of the Convention.