Denmark - the Refugee Appeals Board’s decision of 15 February 2017

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
15-02-2017
Court Name:
The Refugee Appeals Board
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
Denmark - The Danish Aliens Act Art. 7 (1)
Denmark - The Danish Aliens Act Art. 7 (4)
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Headnote: 

A Stateless Palestinian and Sunni Muslim from Lebanon, single woman, born and raised in Saudi Arabia who had a conflict with her family because she had had a relationship with a French Christian man and lost her virginity.

The Board found that seen in isolation as a Stateless Palestinian the applicant is covered by the Danish Aliens Act Art 7 (1).

The Board found that because the applicant had never resided in Lebanon, did not have any relation to that country, and due to her conflict with her family and based on country of origin information regarding entry options to Saudi Arabia as well as Lebanon for Stateless Palestinians, neither Saudi Arabia nor Lebanon could be considered as a first country of asylum. Consequently, the applicant was granted refugee status under the Danish Aliens Act Art. 7 (1).

Facts: 

The applicant, born in 1986, is a Stateless Palestinian and Sunni Muslim from Lebanon. The applicant was born and raised in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia. The applicant entered Denmark in August 2014 and applied for refugee status.

The applicant stated that she feared her father and brother if she returned to Saudi Arabia because she had lost her virginity and thus dishonoured her family. The applicant feared that her father and brother would harm her in Lebanon or take her to Saudi Arabia. In support of her application she referred to having had a relation to a French Christian man called Charles, and that she had lost her virginity. Her family was aware of this as the applicant had told her friends and her psychiatrist who also was her mother’s psychiatrist.

The Danish Immigration Service rejected the asylum application in September 2016.

Decision & Reasoning: 

The account of the applicant has been established by the Refugee Appeals Board.

The Board found that seen in isolation as a Stateless Palestinian the applicant is covered by the Danish Aliens Act Art 7 (1).

Then the Board turned to the question whether Saudi Arabia or Lebanon could serve as a first country of asylum, cf. the Danish Aliens Act Art. 7 (4). Regarding Saudi Arabia, the Board notes that it accepts the applicant’s account that she had a conflict with her family due to her relationship with a Christian man. None of her parents were Saudi Arabian citizens and her visa for reinterring Saudi Arabia expired six months after she left the country. According to the country of origin information the Board did not render probable that the applicant in the future had a well-founded prospect of being able to enter and legally reside in Saudi Arabia. The Board emphasised among others the Landinfo memo from 2015 on: “Innreisemulighet for statsløs, palestinsk enslig kvinne” og “Jeminitter og andre arbejdsmiganter I Saudi.Arabia” according to which an applicant cannot be returned forcibly to Saudi Arabia and re-entering requires an application for a new visa which again requires a sponsor. As the applicant is more than 25 years old her father cannot be her sponsor and therefore she would only be able to obtain a residence permit through an employer or by marrying a Saudi Arabian citizen.

The applicant possessed a Lebanese travel document, and the Board accepts that although it had expired she would be able to enter and reside in Lebanon. However, the applicant had no relation to Lebanon which her parents left 45 years ago. Apart from a female cousin, which the applicant had never met, she had no family in Lebanon. The applicant’s two holiday visits to Lebanon took place when she was 7 and 17 years old, and the applicant therefore did not have any other kind of network in or relations to Lebanon. The applicant is a single woman with mental problems and thus in Lebanon she would be particularly vulnerable without a real possibility of obtaining support or protection against abuse. The Board’s assessment includes country of origin information regarding the general and increasingly difficult security situation as well as socio-economic conditions for Stateless Palestinians. Consequently, the Board found that the applicant could not be referred to Lebanon on grounds that Lebanon is a first country of asylum and granted the applicant Refugee Status under the Danish Aliens Act Art. 7 (1).

Outcome: 

The applicant was granted Refugee Status under the Danish Aliens Act Art. 7 (1). 

Other sources cited: 

Landinfo memo from 2015 on: “Innreisemulighet for statsløs, palestinsk enslig kvinne” og “Jeminitter og andre arbejdsmiganter I Saudi.Arabia”