Kanagaratnam and Others v. Belgium

Thursday, December 22, 2011

On 13 December in the case of Kanagaratnam and Others v. Belgium the European Court ruled that a violation of Article 3 had taken place in relation to three Sri-Lankan children of Tamil origin who had been held in an aliens’ detention facility for four months in 2009.

The Court stated that by placing them in a closed centre, the Belgian authorities had exposed the children to feelings of anxiety and inferiority and had risked compromising their development. Consequently, the situation experienced by the children had amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of Article 3 of the Convention.

The Court also found a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) due to the fact that by placing the children in a closed centre designed for adult illegal aliens, in conditions which were ill-suited to their extreme vulnerability as minors, the Belgian authorities had not sufficiently guaranteed the children’s right to their liberty.