Belgium - Council for Alien Law Litigation, 30 June 2011, No. 64233

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
30-06-2011
Citation:
C.C.E., arrêt no 64233
Court Name:
Council for Alien Law Litigation (CALL)
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
Belgium - Vreemdelingenwet/loi sur les étrangers 15/12/1980 (Aliens Act) - Artikel 48/5
Belgium - Vreemdelingenwet/loi sur les étrangers 15/12/1980 (Aliens Act) - Artikel 57/7
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Headnote: 

The poor living conditions that the Applicants would face in the safe areas in Georgia meant they could not reasonably be expected to remain there. There was no feasible internal protection alternative

Facts: 

The Applicants, a Georgian family originating from South Ossetia, feared persecution by the Russian army.

The Office of the Commissioner-General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRS) refused to recognise their refugee status because they could receive effective protection in other areas of Georgia. 

Decision & Reasoning: 

The judge emphasised that neither the persecution suffered by the Applicants before they fled nor the trauma this had caused were in any doubt.

He then held that refusal to recognise refugee status on the grounds that  effective protection is available in other areas of the country of origin implied that it was reasonable to expect the Applicants to remain there.

Various reports referred to the difficult living conditions faced by Georgians from South Ossetia who had fled to other parts of Georgia. They had no access to housing, suffered poverty and encountered numerous difficulties in accessing medical care.

It was therefore not reasonable to expect the Applicants, whose medical certificates showed them to be suffering from psychological trauma, to seek protection within Georgia.

The Applicants were recognised as refugees.

Outcome: 

The decision of the CGRS was reversed. 

Observations/Comments: 

The reasonableness of an internal protection alternative had to be assessed by taking into account the Applicants’ particular vulnerabilities (individual assessment) in assessing the seriousness of the violation of their socio-economic rights (assessment of general conditions). 

Other sources cited: 

-          Amnesty International, ‘In the waiting room: Internally displaced people in Georgia’, 05-08-2010;

-          Amnesty International,‘Georgian government must secure future for displaced’, PRE01/262/2010 (statement dated 05-08-2010);

-          Amnesty International, ‘Georgia: Adequate housing for internally displaced remains a concern’, EUR 56/006/2010 (statement dated 04-10-2010);

-          Amnesty International, ‘Amnesty International urges Georgian government to comply with international standards on eviction’, EUR 56/001/2011 (statement dated 28-01-2011);

OHCHR, ‘Summary prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in accordance with paragraph 15 (c) of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1’, UN General Assembly, Human Rights Council, A/HRC/WG.6/10/GEO/3, 15-11-2010