Finland - Helsinki Administrative Court, 4 July 2013, Hehao 13/0757/1

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
04-07-2013
Citation:
Hehao 13/0757/1
Court Name:
Helsinki Administrative Court
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Headnote: 

The Helsinki Administrative Court considered the Applicant to be particularly vulnerable in relation to Italy due to her health condition, the traumatic experiences in Syria and the country of origin information regarding the asylum system in Italy. She would suffer from serious harm if returned there. The Helsinki Administrative Court returned the case for new processing by the Finnish Immigration Service.

Facts: 

The Applicant is a 38-year old Christian single woman from Syria. She has lived together with her mother with whom she escaped her country of origin after being persecuted, harassed, violated and threatened by the insurgents. They escaped the civil war first to Lebanon and then to Italy. The Applicant´s brother, who has Finnish nationality and who lives in Finland, helped them in their escape. The Applicant was diagnosed as suffering from a very large tumour in her upper jaw, which requires operation and expert medical treatment.

The Finnish Immigration Service did not examine the application for international protection and decided to deport her to Italy,which, according to the Dublin Regulation, is responsible for processing the asylum application. The Italian authorities accepted the request. According to the Finnish Immigration Service’s statement to the Court, vulnerable asylum seekers, for example, those in need of expert medical care, are privileged to be accepted to the SPRAR-system which in Italy is responsible for asylum seekers and persons with residence permits. The Finnish authorities responsible for the execution of the decision and deportation of the Applicant can inform the Italian authorities beforehand of the health conditions and the special reception needs of the Applicant. According to the Finnish Immigration Service, the health condition of the Applicant does not cause such a dependence on the assistance of the family member residing in Finland as stated in Article 15(2) of the Dublin II Regulation. The tumour can be operated on in Finland, but it is possible to guarantee the continuation of treatment by the cooperation between the Finnish and Italian  health care- and reception personnel, thus the Applicant cannot be in a particularly vulnerable position due to her health in relation to Italy. In addition, the Finnish Immigration Service refered to the UNHCR Guidelines published in July 2012 according to which, although there is space for improvements in the Italian system, the asylum procedure and the reception conditions are mainly at acceptable levels. Based on this, the Finnish Immigration Service stated that they do not have any systemic deficiencies in the Italian asylum system that could lead to inhuman or degrading treatment of the Applicant in Italy. The Helsinki Administrative Court granted interim measures.

Decision & Reasoning: 

The Helsinki Administrative Court considered the Applicant to be particularly vulnerable in relation to Italy due to her health condition, the traumatic experiences in Syria and the country of origin information regarding the  asylum system in Italy. She would suffer from serious harm if returned there.

Outcome: 

The Helsinki Administrative Court overruled the decision of the Finnish Immigration Service and returned the case for the new processing there.

Subsequent Proceedings : 

The Finnish Immigration Service granted refugee status to the Applicant and her mother. The case of the Applicant´s mother: hehao 13/0759/1.

Observations/Comments: 

In the application of the Applicant´s mother, hehao 13/0759/1, the Court reasoned the decision to return the case to new processing in Finnish Immigration Service in a similar manner as in the daughter´s case. In the mother´s case, the Court considered her to be particularly vulnerable in relation to Italy due to her age, the traumatic experiences in Syria and the country of origin information regarding the asylum system in Italy. She would suffer from serious harm if returned there.