Landmark Decision Committee on Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Photo: Julie Ricard on Unsplash

Landmark Decision Committee on Extraterritorial Jurisdiction

The Committee on the Rights of the Child declares a complaint lodged against France on the protection of children in Northern Syria admissible, building on third party interventions.

In a complaint against the France, filed by grandparents on behalf of their grandchildren, arguing that France should repatriate the children from refugee camps in Northern Syria, the CRC Committee concludes that France has jurisdiction over the children who find themselves in an extremely vulnerable situation. According to the Committee, France ‘has the capability and the power to protect the rights of the children in question by taking action to repatriate them or provide other consular responses’ (para. 9.7). As a consequence, the Committee holds that the complaint is admissible and will be assessed on the merits. With this ground breaking decision the Committee acknowledges that in particular circumstances a State Party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child can be assumed to have a responsibility to protect the rights of children beyond its territory.

The Committee relies in its decision on two third party interventions, one of which was prepared by Dr. Gamze Erdem Türkelli (University of Antwerp), Prof. Dr. Wouter Vandenhole (University of Antwerp), Dr. Meda Couzens (Western Sydney University), Chrisje Sandelowsky-Bosman (Leiden University) and Prof. Dr. Ton Liefaard (Leiden University), and signed by 26 colleagues from around the world.

A case note on this admissibility decision will be published on the Leiden Children’s Rights Observatory soon.