Austria: Supreme Administrative Court (VwGH), 23. January 2018, Ra 2018/18/0001

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
23-01-2018
Citation:
Ra 2018/18/0001
Court Name:
Supreme Administrative Court (VwGH)
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
Austria - Asylgesetz (Asylum Act) 2005 - § 57
Austria - Asylgesetz (Asylum Act) 2005 - § 11 para. 1
Austria - Asylgesetz (Asylum Act) 2005 - § 8 para. 1
Austria - Federal Constitutional Law (B-GV) - Art. 133 para. 4
Austria - Administrative Court Act (VwGG)- § 35 para. 1
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Headnote: 

For the assumption of reasonable internal flight alternatives, a case-by-case assessment must be made on the basis of sufficient findings about the expected situation of the asylum applicant in the country of origin. On the basis of general information on the situation in the country of origin, a young, healthy man with school education and professional experience and who is familiar with the local conditions, can in principle be expected to resettle in Kabul.

Facts: 

The applicant is an Afghan national and filed an application for international protection in Austria. The Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum (BFA) rejected the application and ordered the deportation to Afghanistan. The appeal filed against this decision was dismissed by the Federal Administrative Court (BVwG) as unfounded. The court stated that the applicant came from a village in Kapisa, a province in Afghanistan, and attended secondary school in Kabul for three years before leaving the country. The court stated that no persecution could be established in the event of his return and that Kapisa is a relatively peaceful province in Afghanistan, so that he could return there without any danger. Furthermore, in moving to Kabul, an internal flight alternative was available to him. The applicant is a young man who is able to work, speaks the local language and is familiar with the local conditions in Kabul.

The applicant brought the present extraordinary appeal before the Supreme Administrative Court (VwGH), in which he argued that the BVwG had determined his individual threat in the region of origin only extremely inadequately and had disregarded essential evidence. Furthermore, the justification of an internal flight alternative was based on an inconclusive expert opinion and would have required more detailed findings on his specific situation.

Decision & Reasoning: 

The appeal is admissible, but unfounded.

The VwGH confirms the assessment of the BVwG that the Afghan capital Kabul offers a reasonable internal flight alternative. When examining a reasonable internal flight alternative, it must be assessed whether the asylum applicant who is persecuted in one part of his country of origin or who is threatened with serious harm can lead a "relatively normal life" without undue hardship in another part of the country of origin. The general circumstances of the country of origin and the personal circumstances of the asylum seeker must therefore be taken into account.

In the case of a young, healthy man with school education and professional experience, it was not apparent, on the basis of the general information on the situation in the country of origin, that resettlement in Kabul could not reasonably be expected. This applies even if -as in the present case- the asylum applicant was not born in Afghanistan, had no relatives in Afghanistan, and had grown up in Iran. The assessment must be made on a case-by-case basis and on the basis of sufficient findings about the asylum applicant’s expected return situation. A sufficient assessment was undertaken by the BVwG, which has also relied on country reports in addition to the alleged inconclusive expert opinion.

Outcome: 

Appeal dismissed.

Observations/Comments: 

This summary is written by Theresa Richter, LLM student of Queen Mary University, London.

Other sources cited: 

Hathaway/Foster, The Law of Refugee Status 2 (2014).

UNHCR-Guidelines regarding international protection No.4 "Internal flight and resettlement alternative " dated 23. July 2003.

Marx, Handbook on the Qualification Directive (2009).

Case Law Cited: 

Federal Constitutional Court, 12. December 2017, E2068/2017

Supreme Administrative Court (VwGH), 8. August 2017, Ra 2017/19/0118