Date of the ruling (Decision on the merits) : October 20th 2009
Jurisdiction : European Committee of Social Rights - Council of Europe
Legal basis : Article 31 (right to housing), Article E (non-discrimination), Article 17 (right of children and young persons to social, legal and economic protection) of the Revised European Social Charter.
DCI asked the Committee to find that Dutch legislation and practice which denied children unlawfully present in its territory access to adequate housing, were in violation of Article 31 taken alone or in conjunction with Article E of the Revised Charter. DCI stated that housing was a prerequisite for the preservation of human dignity and therefore that legislation or practice which denied entitlement to housing to foreign nationals, even if they were on the territory unlawfully, should be considered contrary to the Revised Charter. In addition, DCI refered to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which the Netherlands had ratified, in that it guarantees protection to all children within the jurisdiction of a State Party, regardless of their legal status.
DCI further held that due to the fact that housing is a basic and essential commodity for the well being of a child, the finding of a violation of the right to housing implied a violation of Articles 11, 13, 16, 17 and 30 taken alone or in conjunction with Article E of the Revised Charter. It therefore asked the Committee to also find such violations.
Results and key consequences of the case : The Committee concluded that Article 31§1 and Article E were not applicable in the instant case, but that there were violations of Article 31§2 and of Article 17§1.
The Committee held that States Parties are required, under Article 31§2 of the Revised Charter, to provide adequate shelter to children unlawfully present in their territory for as long as they are in their jurisdiction. Any other solution would run counter to the respect for their human dignity and would not take due account of the particularly vulnerable situation of children.
To learn more :
To read the full case, click here.
To read the Resolution of Committee of Ministers, click here.