EGMR: Switzerland was under no obligation to recognise the marriage of a 14-year old child

von Dr. Georg Neureither

In today’s Chamber judgment in the case of Z.H. and R.H. v. Switzerland (application no. 60119/12) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been no violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The case concerned the asylum applications of two Afghan nationals, Ms. Z.H. and Mr. R.H., who married in a religious ceremony in Iran when Ms. Z.H. had been a child, and which were considered separately – the couple not being considered legally married by the Swiss authorities – resulting in the expulsion of Mr. R.H. to Italy. In the proceedings before the European Court, the couple alleged that the expulsion of Mr. R.H. had breached their right to respect for their family life.

The Court found that at the time of the removal of Mr. R.H. to Italy, the Swiss authorities had been justified in considering that the applicants were not married. It held, in particular, that Switzerland was under no obligation to recognise the marriage of a child, emphasising the importance of the protection of children and considering the regulation of marriage an issue best addressed by the national courts.

Principal facts

The applicants, Ms. Z.H. and Mr. R.H. are Afghan nationals who were born in 1996 and 1992 respectively and live in Geneva (Switzerland). The case concerns the applicants’ asylum claims.

The applicants entered Switzerland, via Italy, and, presenting themselves to the authorities as a married couple, applied for asylum in September 2011. According to the couple they had married in a religious ceremony in Iran in 2010. At the time, Ms. Z.H. was 14 years old and Mr. R.H. was 18 years old ...

Zum vollständigen Artikel

Cookies helfen bei der Bereitstellung unserer Dienste. Durch die Nutzung erklären Sie sich mit der Cookie-Setzung einverstanden. Mehr OK