Hungary - Budapest Court of Public Administration and Labour, 22 September 2017, 5.K.32.170/2017/9

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
22-09-2017
Citation:
Budapest Court of Public Administration and Labour, 22 September 2017, 5.K.32.170/2017/9
Court Name:
Budapest Court of Public Administration and Labour
Relevant Legislative Provisions:
International Law > 1951 Refugee Convention > Art 1
International Law > 1951 Refugee Convention > Art 1A (2)
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
Hungary: Law No. LXXX/2007 on refugee rights: Article 6(1) Article 7(1) Article 8(1) Article 12(1) Article 45 Article 61 Article 60 Article 68(6)
Hungary: Law No. CXL/2004 on general rules of procedures done by Administrative Authorities: Article 50 Article 72 Article 109
Hungary: Law No. III/1952 on civil law proceedings Article 78(1) Article 324(2) Article 339
Hungary: Decree of 6/1986 (VI26) on costs Article 13(1) Article 14
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Headnote: 

The Immigration and Asylum Office unlawfully rejected the claimant’s application for international protection. The court found that the authorities did not objectively assess the evidence and country information provided by the claimant, a Coptic Christian from Egypt. They also failed to correctly interpret the definition of a refugee in accordance with international law and disregarded the special status of the claimant who was an underage applicant.

Facts: 

The claimant submitted an application for international protection arguing that he is persecuted in Egypt by Muslim groups, due to him being a member of the Coptic Christian Church. He was subjected to continuous verbal and physical abuse on account of his religion and preaching activities, while he was facing difficulties accessing the labour market for the same reason. He also witnessed the murder of three Christian individuals and testified against the perpetrators. He is not only prosecuted by the police but also the family members of those children. He could not benefit from protection by the authorities.

The authorities rejected the claimant’s application and ordered his deportation to Egypt and a prohibition of entry to Hungary for the next two years. The reasoning behind the decision was the lack of persecution of Coptic Christians since new legislation came into force in Egypt in 2016. The authorities also argued that the verbal abuse by Muslim families does not constitute persecution per se. They further argued that the claimant can return to Egypt without much trouble and could count with the support of his family.

On appeal, the claimant requested the reconsideration of his application and the annulment of the deportation order. The claimant argued that the authorities did not consider his special status as an underage applicant nor his past experiences of abuse and injuries. He contended that the threat of persecution is mainly not from the state and the assessment of future persecution is needed. Finally, there should have been an objective assessment of all the facts, evidence and of the country information available. The information gathered by the Hungarian Embassy in Cairo cannot be considered to be objective as the Egyptian government still cannot and does not know how to protect Coptic Christians against Muslim persecution. The 2016 law mentioned by the authorities does not affect the present persecution as it only relates to the right to build churches.

Decision & Reasoning: 

First, the Court assessed whether the claimant would satisfy the requirements for refugee status.

The Court referred to Hungarian legislation on the recognition of refugee and subsidiary protection status, including the general prohibition of refoulement, and emphasised that it remains compatible with the international provisions. In this context, it emphasised that one does not need to suffer the abuse themselves to qualify as a refugee. The Court further quoted the UNCHR Handbook to conclude that fear of persecution does not only relate to those who have been directly persecuted but also to people who wish to avoid persecution.

Secondly, the Court found that the authorities did not interpret the provisions in a way that is compatible with international law and there was no proper assessment of the evidence provided by the claimant. The Court also found that the claimant was right to argue that the authorities disregarded his special status as an underage applicant and they also failed to examine the country information provided by the claimant.

Due to the misinterpretation of the law and the procedural flaws in the examination of the case, the authorities came to wrong conclusions regarding the threat of future persecution.

The contested decision was annulled and the Court instrycted the authorities to re-assess the claimant’s application while considering the relevant provisions of international law, as well as submitted evidence and country information. 

Outcome: 

Appeal granted.

Observations/Comments: 

This summary was written by Yvette Talas.

Other sources cited: 

Amnesty International Report 2016/17