Belgium – Council for Alien Law Litigation, 28 January 2009, Nr. 22.175

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
Nr. 22.175
Court Name:
Council for Alien Law Litigation
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The Council for Alien Law Litigation (CALL) held that Art 48/5, §3 of the Belgian Aliens Law, which refers to the principles of internal protection alternative and protection within a country of origin, is in principle applicable in cases where the threat comes from a non-state agent. In a case where the threat of persecution comes from a state agent, the decision-maker should explain why it believes that this provision is applicable nonetheless.

The applicant, of Guinean nationality, claimed that he took part in a strike that  resulted in his arrest and beating by a soldier. He also claimed that he was accused of having instigated the strike and that he was incarcerated for over eight months before he managed to escape. The Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRS) rejected his asylum application for two main reasons:

(1) the press article that the applicant had produced had no evidential value, despite the fact that it was authenticated by the editor-in-chief of the newspaper concerned (because it was argued that some newspapers in Guinea published false articles for a sum of money);
(2) The applicant could benefit from protection in his country of origin by moving to the village where he was born.
The applicant lodged an appeal against this decision.
Decision & Reasoning: 
In its decision the CALL criticised both of the CGRS’ main arguments:
(1) The fact that the CGRS did not give evidential value to an exhibit is, as such, not a reason to reject an asylum claim. While the CGRS must, of course, explain why it dismisses evidence produced by the applicant, it is also obliged to explain why it believes that it is not required to grant the protection claimed.
(2) With regard to the possibility of internal protection, the CALL observed that “the CGRS’ decision implicitly refers to the notion of internal protection alternative, or protection within a country, as provided for in article 48/5, §3 of the Belgian Aliens Law, which applies in case of a threat from a non-state agent. As the applicant is claiming that he experiences threats of persecution from a state agent, the CGRS should have at least explained in its reasons why it believed that article 48/5, §3 of the Belgian Aliens Law was nonetheless applicable in the case.”

The CALL also noted that the CGRS did not examine the extent to whcih the applicant’s statements regarding the central element of his story, i.e. his 8-month incarceration for having participated in a strike action, were credible.
The CALL concluded that the file lacked some essential elements, which implied that the CALL was unable to confirm or alter the decision of the CGRS without further investigation being completed.

The decision of the CGRS was quashed and the case was sent back to the CGRS for further investigation and a new decision.