Italy - Ordinary Court of Rome, RG No. 58068/2017, 25 May 2018

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
25-05-2018
Citation:
RG No. 58068/2017
Court Name:
Ordinary Court of Rome
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Headnote: 

The request submitted by the Italian authorities to Norway to take back the applicant would imply his immediate repatriation to his country of origin, Afghanistan, which, in the light of the Court’s reasoning, is not to be considered a safe country.

Facts: 

The case originates from the refusal of the Norwegian authorities to grant international protection to an Afghan citizen (the applicant). The decision was based on the exclusion of any individual risk of persecution for him in his country of origin. The applicant then left Norway and came to Italy, where the authorities acknowledged that his fingerprints had already been taken in another country and therefore submitted a request to Norway to take back the applicant and organised his transfer.

The applicant here appeals against such a decision, claiming the risk of being repatriated to Afghanistan by the Norwegian authorities.

Decision & Reasoning: 

The Court is conscious that the transfer of the applicant to Norway would certainly imply his subsequent repatriation to Afghanistan, since the previous decision taken by the Norwegian Court is definitive and since the repatriation operations are already ongoing.

There is no doubt that the request made by Italian authorities to the Norwegian ones to take back the application is legitimate, in accordance with Dublin Regulation (EU) No 604/2013, art. 23 and 18.1. However, the Court assesses whether there is margin to apply its discretion under the same Regulation, art. 17.

The Court then proceeds as follows:

In accordance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, asylum seekers can be transferred to another country only if such a procedure does not imply any risk for them to be subject to degrading and inhuman treatment. This always needs to be verified, even when there is no reason to believe that there are systemic flaws in the asylum procedure and in the reception conditions in that Member State. In the circumstances at stake, such a condition is not guaranteed, as Italy is aware that the Norwegian authorities will immediately proceed with the repatriation of the applicant.

Furthermore, with regard to the family history of the applicant, the Court notes that he does not have any kind of support network in his country of origin.

The Court then proceeds with a deep examination of the conditions of the applicant’s country of origin: recent reports of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch give evidence of a series of human rights abuses (violence, killings, public spaces bombed) taking place in the country and frequently perpetrated also by pro-government groups.

As previously mentioned, the application of art. 23 of Dublin Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 would imply an immediate transfer to Norway and, from there, a repatriation to Afghanistan. In the light of the above considerations, Afghanistan is not to be considered a safe country for the applicant to be repatriated to and such a decision would  therefore represent a violation of the applicant’s fundamental rights.

 

Outcome: 

Appeal granted.

Observations/Comments: 

This case summary was written by Ilaria Della Moretta - - MA Human Rights, University College London.

Other sources cited: 

 

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Afghanistan: Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict – Annual Report 2017

Amnesty International. Report 2017

Human Rights Watch. Report 2016/2017

 

Case Law Cited: 

CJEU - C-404/15 and C-659/15 PPU, Aranyosi and Căldăraru