Czech Republic - Supreme Administrative Court, 30 September 2013, I.J. v Ministry of the Interior, 4 Azs 24/2013-34

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
30-09-2013
Citation:
4 Azs 24/2013-34
Court Name:
Supreme Administrative Court
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Headnote: 

It is impossible to advise the Applicant to request the protection of public bodies in a situation in which the public bodies obviously discriminate against a certain religious group. When examining the alternative option of internal relocation, it is necessary to assess the legal and factual availability in terms of the circumstances of the Applicant. It is impossible to build the protection proceedings on a testimony with partial inaccuracies and to revert to translated reports provided by the Applicant.

Facts: 

The Applicant, who came from Pakistan and is of the Ahmadiyah religion,  claimed persecution on grounds of his faith in his country and that he was threatened with persecution if he were to return. During several interviews, he pointed, in particularto one main incident when he was attacked by unknown religious persons and suffered a serious injury to his leg.

The Ministry of the Interior did not grant the Applicant asylum and pointed out the contradictions in the Applicant’s statements and furthermore, the fact that he did not approach the state authorities in the country of origin and did not take advantage of the possibility of internal relocation.

The Regional Court in Hradec Králové rejected the case and affirmed the aforementioned conclusion of the Ministry.

The Applicant filed a cassation complaint with the Supreme Administrative Court.

Decision & Reasoning: 

The Supreme Administrative Court first addressed the issue of credibility and rejected the conclusion that partial inaccuracies in the depiction of the Applicant’s story represents grounds for overall unreliability or lessens the credibility of the Applicant’s story if the testimony is otherwise generally consistent. In the Applicant’s case, it was possible to eliminate the contradictions by asking other suitable questions as part of the interview. It was also necessary to reject the blunt reference to the duty to seek protection from the national authoritieswhen it is clear from the reports on the country of origin that members of this religion are the most vulnerable religious group, and the one which state authorities fully and demonstably target. They are generally discriminated against and physical attacks on members of this religion are tolerated by the state. In this situation, it is impossible to ask the Applicant to meet the requirement to seek protection from the state authorities of the country of origin.

As for the possibility of internal relocation, the Court pointed out with reference to its previous jurisprudence that internal relocation should be preferred before leaving the country and its availability is therefore logically to be examined within the asylum procedure. It must, however, be examined whether it is available from a legal and factual point of view with regard to the particular situation of the Applicant. In the case of this Applicant and with regard to general information about the situation of followers of the Ahmadiyah religion in Pakistan, it is clear that there is no reasonable and safe possibility of relocation. The Claimant had even been attacked in the surroundings of the city R, which is inhabited predominantly by followers of the same religion, and which should therefore be the safest city. It can scarcely be imagined that he could be better off in an area where, to the contrary, his religion is in a complete minority.

Finally, with reference to the efficient management of the proceedings, the Court criticised the Ministry for not examining the evidence provided by the Applicant. No matter how much the information the Applicant’s statement provided in relation to the person of the Applicant, it could certainly have provided other findings about the situation of persons in a similar situation which would thus support granting international protection. The Court even stated that it is unsustainable to reject the submission of reports in languages other than that in which the proceedings are conducted (typically reports in English) or, in such a case, to require the Applicant to provide a translation of the documents submitted. Providing a certified translation of such documents is very hard for an Applicant requesting international protection. The administrative body was therefore obliged to translate the evidence provided in the proceedings from Urdu – the language in which the Applicant had chosen for the proceedings to be conducted – or from English.

Outcome: 

The Supreme Administrative Court upheld the cassation complaint and annulled the judgment of the Court as well as the decision of the Ministry.

Other sources cited: 

Human Rights Watch Annual Report for 2011,

Report of the Ministry of the Interior of Great Britain as of 17 January 2011,

Report of the Commission of the United States of America for Freedom of Confession in the World In 2010