C. Right to privacy and family life
‘34. Article 12 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights provides that “[n]o one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence.” A similar provision is found in Article 17(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and in other United Nations instruments. This right has been interpreted broadly, encompassing inter alia the protection against forced evictions, the demolition of homes or property, the destruction of traditional burial grounds, and the expulsion of foreigners. The right to family life also applies in relation to persons deprived of liberty, who should be allowed to communicate with their families, subject only to reasonable restrictions established by law.
35. The right to family life is reflected in the general preference for preserving the family unit and non-separation of its members, particularly dependent members. The Convention on the Rights of the Child affirms the right of children not to be separated from their parents against their will, except where “necessary for the best interest of the child,” such as in cases of abuse or neglect (art. 9.1), following a judicial determination to this effect. Children deprived of their family environment should be provided alternative care (art. 20), and, whenever possible, to have contact with their parents (art. 9(3)). According to article 23(4) of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in no case shall a child be separated from parents on the basis of a disability of either the child or one or both of the parents.
36. The Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families requires States to ensure “the protection of the unity of the families,” including by facilitating the reunification of documented migrants with their spouses and dependent children (art. 44). The Convention on the Rights of the Child urges State Parties to deal with such requests in a “positive, humane and expeditious manner” (art. 10).‘