Netherlands - District Court Almelo, 28 November 2008, AWB 08/39512

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
28-11-2008
Citation:
AWB 08/39512
Court Name:
District Court Almelo
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Headnote: 

This case concerned whether or not a proper assessment of an internal protection alternative had been carried out. It was found that careful research had not been done regarding the question of whether a part of Colombia meets the internal protection criteria as set out in Art 8.1 of the Qualification Directive, taken together with Art 8.2 of the Qualification Directive.

Facts: 

The applicants were from Valle del Cauca, Colombia. The applicants’ first asylum applications were rejected on the 5th April 2006. The district court considered that the applicants’ claim to refugee protection was well-founded and they allowed the appeal. The respondent challenged this decision to the Council of State and they allowed their appeal.

The respondent made a second decision and again refused to grant the applicants asylum (5th November 2008). The applicant then filed an appeal to the district court and requested an interim provision.

Decision & Reasoning: 

The district court stated that just because the applicants lacked credibility in their asylum claims, that in itself did not exclude the possible of being afforded international protection under Article 15(c) of the Qualification Directive, since it had been established that the applicants were Colombian nationals.

Regarding the respondent’s claim that the applicants could not be granted asylum on the grounds of Article 15(c) of the Qualification Directive, because there was a possibility of internal protection in Colombia, the district court held that:

"The appealed decisions do not show that careful research has been conducted regarding the question of whether a part of Colombia fulfills the criteria as set out in Article 8(1) of the Qualification Directive, taking the elements of Article 8(2) of the Qualification Directive into account. The district court can conclude from the decisions that in the framework of the research presented with regards to the applicants’ asylum accounts, the respondent consulted the general country of origin report of the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs about Colombia (of September 2008) and has heard the applicants. However, taking account of the complex situation in Colombia –according to aforementioned country of origin report there is a dynamic conflict there- the district court deems this research to be insufficient in the present case.” 

In addition the country of origin report of 2008 described the situation as it was in 2006 and therefore did not describe the current situation.

In reasoning his rejection of the applications, the respondent referred to the general country report of Colombia and the applicants’ statements that their families have resettled elsewhere in Colombia and have had no problems. The district court referred to the respondent’s policy regarding internal protection (paragraph C4/2.2 Aliens Circular 2000) and stated:

"(...)it can only be reasonably expected from the applicant that he stays in another part of the country of origin, if there is an area where the applicant is not in danger and the safety there is lasting. It must be considered unlikely that there is a part of Colombia where safety is lasting, since the country report of Colombia states that there is a dynamic conflict and taking account of the safety situation per region as described in paragraph 2.3.2.”

The district court concluded that the underlying decisions were not taken with the necessary care and the reasoning used did not support the conclusions. Seperately, the district court also considered that the cases had wrongfully been assessed in an accelerated procedure.

Outcome: 

The appeals of the applicants were allowed.