The decision by the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) to deport the two-year-old Haddile to France in an effort to reunite her with her mother has received widespread criticism from the Swedish public and children’s rights organizations.
The girl’s mother, who is Algerian but has French citizenship, disappeared 20 days after giving birth at a hospital in Lund in the south of Sweden. Her whereabouts are still unknown.
Haddile’s step father took care of her when the mother disappeared but he was accused of abuse after Haddile was admitted to hospital with serious brain damage at the age of four months.
Haddile then ended up in foster care and her foster parents say they are willing to adopt her.
In light of this case, several Swedish political parties are now calling for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to be fully incorporated into Swedish law.
“If the child convention were part of Swedish law, children’s legal position would be strengthened. A political majority in the government wants the convention to become Swedish law, but nothing happens,” said Emma von Corswant, a children’s rights lawyer at Unicef, in a statement.
Unicef says the handling of Haddile’s case goes against Article 2 in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which specifies children’s rights to be protected against discrimination.
In an opinion piece for the Newsmill website, Stina Bengtsson of the Centre Party called for the child convention to be incorporated into Swedish law. The Social Democrat migration spokesperson, Fredrik Lundh, made a similar appeal in a statement to the TT news agency.
The deportation decision has been appealed to the Migration court, but Mikael Ribbenvik of the Swedish Migration Board told the newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN) that he believes the court, too, will push for reunification – though it might reassess whether it should happen in Sweden or France.
Ribbenvik also said the Migration Board will investigate its handling of the case.
The petition against Haddile’s deportation is a private initiative.
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