top of page

Netherlands violated child's right to nationality: UN

The Netherlands violated the rights of a child born to a mother trafficked to the country and forced into prostitution by registering "nationality unknown" in the boy’s civil records, the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) said.

The committee said the Dutch decision left the 10-yer-old boy unable under Dutch law to be registered as "stateless," while describing its decision as "ground-breaking" as it is the HRC's first decision on the right of a child to acquire a nationality.

The committee heard a petition by a child named Denny, born in the Netherlands' city of Utrecht in 2010 to a 21-year-old mother from China.

Denny's mother was trafficked to the Netherlands in 2004 when she was 15 and forced into prostitution, the committee heard.

She eventually managed to escape in 2008 and reported to the Dutch police.

However, the police closed the investigation as they could not identify her traffickers.

Her residency status is currently classified as an "illegal alien."

"States have the responsibility to ensure that stateless children under their jurisdiction who have no possibility to acquire any other nationality are not left without legal protection," said Shuichi Furuya, a committee member.

"The right to nationality ensures concrete protection for individuals, in particular children."

Denny's mother was abandoned by her parents.

Her birth was not recorded in the civil registry in China, so she could not obtain Chinese citizenship and could not prove Denny's nationality.

Therefore, her son was registered in the Dutch Municipal Personal Records Database with the annotation "unknown nationality."

Denny's mother was also unable to prove that her son was without a nationality as required by Dutch law to change his status from "unknown" to "stateless" and apply for international protection for stateless children.

With no hope of support from the Dutch authorities, Denny and his mother filed their petition to the HRC in 2016.

The mother and son now live in a center for failed asylum seekers with young children, with no contact with Dutch society and under a permanent threat of deportation.

bottom of page