Greece - Appeals Committee, 24 September 2015, 11057

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
24-09-2015
Citation:
6th Appeals Committee decision (Doc. Ref: 11057/2015)
Court Name:
Appeals Committee. (President: P. Katsari, Members: Il. Tsabardoukas, An. Papanastasiou)
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Headnote: 

The applicant did not have the possibility to have his allegations (which also supported his subsequent application)  duly taken into consideration. His written answers to the questions asked by the administrative authorities on his subsequent application were not documented with precision. His allegations need to be examined and evaluated further.

Facts: 

The applicant, a Sunni Muslim from Bangladesh, had applied for international protection on grounds that he faced persecution in his country of origin. The applicant claimed that he escaped from Bangladesh in 2008 due to certain land disputes that occurred in his village. Additionally, he stated that he does not wish to return, because he fears he might be tortured or killed by his enemies. Following an oral hearing of the applicant at the Regional Asylum Office in Attica, his application for international protection was dismissed as being unfounded. His appeal before the Appeals Committee was refused.

On the 25th May 2015, the applicant, whilst in detention, submitted a subsequent application. Instead of including the required information in detail, most fields of required information in the application form, including some for personal details and for recording the reasons & elements of the application, made reference to the previous application (by indicating the phrase “As shown in previous application” or “P.A.”). The application was later rejected on grounds that no new elements had been brought forward. The applicant appealed this decision to the Appeals Committee. 

Decision & Reasoning: 

After examining the available documentation, the Committee notes that most answers indicate the phrase “As shown in previous application” or “P.A.”. This was not just the case for questions concerning the personal information of the applicant, but even those related to the substantial grounds for international protection.

Only to the question “Do you have something to add / amend to the above statements?”, was a different answer recorded, namely “I was detained for 19 months. I also want to say that in Bangladesh my brother disappeared”.

According to the Committee the transcription of “P.A.” in the answers demonstrates three things:

  1. That the relevant guidelines from the Asylum Service for transcribers have not been abided by (paragraph 8.1, para. 8.2.6 and para. 14.1.3 page 95 of the Guidelines ForThe Handling Of The Asylum Procedure).
  2. That doubts had arisen about whether the questions were really submitted to the applicant.
  3. That the transcription of the subsequent application for the decision-making authorities does not record the exact answers and updated reasons for which the applicant  does not wish to return to his country of origin.

For those reasons, and due to the fact that the transcriber hindered the work of the decision-making authorities, the authorities are deprived of essential material (crucial information) on which a later application is evaluated.

Therefore, based on the rationale that the applicant just repeated the data, allegations and future fears that he had expressed in his initial application, the Committee rejected the later application as unacceptable.

The allegation about his brother disappearing was indeed new, but nevertheless not substantial / material, and does not fall under the requirements of refugee or of beneficiary of international protection status.

Nonetheless, it is not shown that he was asked, during the transcription, to further explain the conditions of the disappearance, so one cannot dismiss the possibility of them being material.

Thus, the Committee, within the spirit of protection of asylum applicants according to the Geneva Convention of 1951, judges that the allegations that the applicant wished to highlight, in support of his subsequent application, have to be examined and evaluated further, according to para. 4, article 23 of the P.D. 113/2013.

Outcome: 

Appeal granted.

Remittance of the decision to the examining authority to undertake a thorough and rigorous examination of the claim. 

Observations/Comments: 

The decision primarily demonstrates the ongoing flaws that exist in the asylum procedure in Greece, and more specifically highlights the issues existing in the  personal interview phase. 

As far as the interview procedure goes, the Appeals Committee judged that there are serious doubts concerning the correct transcription of the facts; doubts which hinder the evaluation of the material and potential new evidence in the subsequent application. 

This case summary was written by Hermione Barelier is an MBA and GDL graduate (BPP University Law School).

This case summary was proof read Nafsika Vasileiadou, a LLM student at Queen Mary University, London. 

Other sources cited: 

Para. 8.1, 8.2.6 and 14.1.3 page 95 of the instructions of the Asylum Service for transcribers, in the “Guidelines For The Handling Of The Asylum Procedure”.