Greece - 7th Appeals Committee, 28 June 2019

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
7th Appeals Committee, Decision No 9713, 28-06-2019
Court Name:
Independent Appeals Authority, 7th Appeals Committee
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
Greece - L.D. 3989/1959
Articles 9(1)
17 (ΠΔ 141/2013) Presidential Decree 141/2013
Articles 4
62 Ν. 4375/2016
Greece - Κώδικας Διοικητικής Διαδικασίας (ν. 2690/2004) (Administrative Procedure Code (Act 2690/2004))
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The political, humanitarian and economic crisis in Venezuela can justify subsidiary protection status if the individual’s return to the country of origin, would cause serious harm, characterized by the level of seriousness required to be considered as inhuman and degrading treatment.

On 05/09/2018 they appealed against the first-instance decision. They argued that they should be granted refugee status, as they would face a real risk of danger to their life upon return because of their political activities there. In particular, they had been working for years in the Community Council of Tachira, when they filed a complaint against the government officer when an application for community funding was rejected. Following that complaint, they received threatening phone calls and so they resigned from their posts in 2009.
In 2010, at San Cristobal, they fell victims of an armed robbery. This incident, in combination with the general political and economic situation in Venezuela, as well as the lack of food, medicine and clean water made them flee to Greece and ask for international protection.At the time of the application the family had already been living in Greece for 6 years and the children had been attending Greek schools
Decision & Reasoning: 

On their claim of risk to their lives because of their political action and the hostile incidents they experienced, the Committee characterized it by a lack of clarity and specificity, as there was no sufficient personal information and no detailed description,. The applicants gave vague information and were not in a position to justify why they were still at risk of being prosecuted by the public authorities after having resigned from their posts and without any political action. Moreover, the robbery was presented as a single and occasional event that could reasonably be linked to the financial situation and criminality that prevailed in Venezuela at that time. Therefore, the Committee did not accept the aforementioned allegations of persecution due to their political beliefs and concluded that no reasonable fear, as described in article 1 A (2) of 1951 Refugee Convention, has been established.

Regarding the claim of financial precariousness and deficiencies in food and medicine provision in Venezuela, the Committee accepted it as credible as, in addition to the applicants’ coherent narrative in this respect, numerous sources confirm these claims. However, the Committee noted that their reluctance to return to Venezuela because of the financial situation does not establish a ground to justify refugee status, as it does not constitute any form of personal discrimination or prosecution by any governmental actor preventing them from working in the country.

The Committee continued by examining their eligibility for subsidiary protection.  It held that it is probable that the eventual return of this family, who had already achieved some level of integration into the Greek society following seven years of residence, to Venezuela would put them in a risk of serious harm, as described in Article 15 (b) of P.D. 141/2013 (transposition of  Qualification Directive 2011/95/EU on subsidiary protection). This harm is characterized by the level of severity required to be considered as inhuman and degrading treatment.

Therefore, their return would jeopardize their physical integrity and mental health and would constitute a breach by the host country of its international obligations under Article 3 of the ECHR and Article 3 of the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (non-refoulement clause), as well as Articles 6 and 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, that have been ratified by Greece and enjoy supremacy over national law.


Appeal partly granted; recognition of subsidiary protection status.

For more information on  the situation in Venezuela see the recent UNHCR report:

This summary was completed by Danai Spentzou, Human Rights LLM student at Queen Mary University of London.

Other sources cited: 

The Committee relied on several cases decided by the Greek Council of State, including, 1647/2010, 2424/2007, 1653/2008, 1556/2011, 2401/2010, 1464/2010, 158/2010, 2232/2005, 418/2010,  4544/2012, 2905/2011, 2910/2011.

Case Law Cited: 

ECtHR - Fadele v United Kingdom, No 13078/87

ECtHR - Kalashnikov v. Russia, No. 47095/99 , § 102, ECHR 2002-VI

ECtHR - Budina v. Russia, Application No. 45603/05