Belgium: Council for Alien Law Litigation rules on personal circumstances and subsidiary protection for Iraqi applicants

Thursday, March 29, 2018

On 29 March 2018, the Belgian Council for Alien Law Litigation (CALL) ruled in case no. 201 900 regarding two Iraqi nationals, who feared being persecuted and killed for being Sunni by the Iraqi Shi'a paramilitary group known as “Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq”, and who had unsuccessfully applied for asylum in Belgium.

First, the CALL took into account the applicant’s additional information that, after lodging their asylum application, their house was confiscated by the paramilitary group. The CALL ruled that the national authorities had not challenged the fact that the applicant’s house had been confiscated, that the applicants were of Sunni background and that they no longer have any family in Bagdad. It also rejected the argument of the asylum authorities that the applicants could have hired a lawyer to challenge the confiscation of their house by the paramilitary group. However, the CALL did not conclude that the applicants had to be granted refugee status as the family had not been individually targeted by the paramilitary group since the house had been confiscated due to its size and strategic location.

Secondly, the Council for Alien Law Litigation referred to its decision of November 2017 on the direction that the sole fact that an asylum applicant is from Bagdad does not suffice to justify the granting of subsidiary protection, which must be determined on a case-by-case basis depending on the personal circumstances of the applicant, which could indicate that the applicant would have a higher risk to be a victim of indiscriminate violence in Bagdad. Based on recent country of origin information, the CALL concluded that Sunnis in Bagdad are at greater risk to become victims of violence such as abuse, kidnapping or murder from the part of Shia militias. Moreover, since the applicants would be at risk of living on the streets with their baby after their house was confiscated by the militia, they had a higher risk of being the victims of indiscriminate violence. Therefore, the CALL granted the applicants subsidiary protection.

Based on an unofficial translation by the ELENA Weekly Legal Update. The Belgian Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons has recently published a new country of origin information update regarding the security situation in Bagdad. So far the report is only available in Dutch and can be found here. We would like to thank Tristan Wibault, ELENA Coordinator in Belgium, for bringing this report to our attention.


This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the weekly ELENA legal update supported by the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Funding Programme and distributed by email. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE, the IRC or its partners.                                                     


Country of origin information
Subsidiary Protection
Vulnerable person