Belgium – Council for Alien Law Litigation, 29 April 2020, n° 235 658

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
29-04-2020
Citation:
Belgian Council for Alien Law Litigation, 29 April 2020, n° 235 658
Court Name:
Council for Alien Law Litigation
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
15 December 1980 Law (Loi du 15 décembre 1980 sur l’accès au territoire le séjour l’établissement et l’éloignement des étrangers)
articles 48/6 (1)
(4)
(5)
48/3 and 48/4
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Headnote: 

In the case of an Afghan Shia Hazara applicant, the Belgian Council for Alien Litigation considered that the request for international protection was based on several sources of fear, which must be analysed in combination with each other, forming a cluster of concordant evidence.

The Council granted the applicant refugee status. 

Facts: 

The Applicant is an Afghan national, Shia Muslim, of Hazara ethnicity. He arrived in Belgium in August 2010, with his brother. Between August 2010 and June 2015, the applicant filed five asylum applications in Belgium on the grounds that he feared persecution from the Taliban in his home country.  

The Commissioner-General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRSP) rejected all five applications deciding that Applicant had not satisfied the standard of proof in establishing his origin from Ghazni in Afghanistan.

The Applicant appealed the last decision.

Decision & Reasoning: 

The Council for Alien Law Litigation (the Council) stressed that the debate between the parties focused on the credibility of the Applicant's statements regarding the facts alleged, and hence on the existence of a well-founded fear.

The Council recalled that where an applicant for international protection is primarily responsible for providing the information necessary for the examination of his application, the competent authority is responsible for examining and assessing the relevant elements of the application in cooperation with the applicant for international protection. To this end, the authority must in particular take into account all relevant information relating to the applicant's country of origin in accordance with Article 48/6 (5) (a-d) of the Law of 15 December 1980.

The Council considered in particular the following information:

  • The Hazaras, who are mainly Shiites, have long been marginalised and discriminated against by the Sunni population. The applicant's Afghan nationality, Hazara ethnic origin and Shia Muslim faith are not contested.
  • In relation to the applicant's family profile, it is also not disputed that his brother, his companion and his daughter have been recognised as refugees in Belgium.
  • The applicant arrived in Belgium in August 2010, i.e. almost ten years ago when he was in his twenties. Given the length of his stay in Belgium, it is undeniable that he is integrated into the Western way of life.

In light of these elements, the Council held that the applicant's statements find a certain resonance on reading the general information in the file relating to his country of origin, and that the fears expressed by him should be considered as well-founded (Art. 48/3 of 15 December 1980 Law), at least for the benefit of the doubt.

Consequently, the Council considered that the Applicant's request for international protection was based on several sources of fear, which must be analysed in combination with each other, thus forming a cluster of concordant evidence.

The appeal was successful and the refugee protection was granted.

Outcome: 

Appeal granted.

Other sources cited: 

Domestic Case Law cited

CCE, 20 November 2017, n° 195 227

CE, 19 May 1993, n° 43.027

R.A.C.E. 1993

CCE, 14 September 2007, n° 1725

CCE, 14 December 2007, n° 5024

CCE, 10 September 2010, n° 47.964

Other Sources cited

UNHCR, Eligibility   Guidelines   for   Assessing   the InternationalProtection Needs of Asylum-Seekers from Afghanistan, 30 August 2018, p. 93 - 94

EASO  Country  Guidance  note:  Afghanistan, June 2019,  p.  69 - 70 

Swiss Refugee Council Report, Afghanistan : risk profiles,  12  September  2019,  p.  15 - 16