France - Council of State, 23 February 2011, n°338271

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
CE, 23 February 2011, n°338271
Court Name:
Council of State
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
France - Ceseda (Code of the Entry and Stay of Foreigners and Asylum Law)
France - CJA (Code of Administrative Justice)
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The suppression of the expression of racist opinions in a State does not constitute persecution pursuant to the 1951 Refugee Convention, if actions of this kind are considered justified and proportionate following analysisof the particular circumstances.


The French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (the Ofpra) requested the Council of State to quash the decision of the National Asylum Court (CNDA) recognising the refugee status of an applicant who had expressed racist opinions in public and who had been placed in police custody following several altercations. The CNDA held that the Applicant feared persecution due to his political opinions if he were to return.

Decision & Reasoning: 

The Council of State began by reiterating the terms of Article 1A(2) of the 1951 Refugee Convention.

The Council of State then went over the facts, according to which the Applicant had expressed his racist opinions in public and had also been involved in several altercations which led to his being placed in police custody. The Council of State concluded that in “failing to investigate whether the actions of the Namibian authorities were unjustified by the need to suppress the expression of racist opinions [by the Applicant],or carried a disproportionate sanction, the CNDA had made an erroneous decision through a mistake of law” and that the Ofpra had reason to request that the decision in question be quashed.



The decision of the CNDA was quashed. 

The case was referred back to the CNDA