Poland - Regional Administrative Court in Warsaw, 4 December 2012, V SA/Wa 931/12

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
04-12-2012
Citation:
V SA/Wa 931/12
Court Name:
Regional Administrative Court in Warsaw
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
Poland - Ustawy o udzielaniu cudzoziemcom ochrony na terytorium Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej (Act on granting protection to foreigners in the territory of the Republic of Poland) - Art 13
Poland - Ustawy o udzielaniu cudzoziemcom ochrony na terytorium Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej (Act on granting protection to foreigners in the territory of the Republic of Poland) - Art 15
Poland - Ustawy o udzielaniu cudzoziemcom ochrony na terytorium Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej (Act on granting protection to foreigners in the territory of the Republic of Poland) - Art 16
Poland - Ustawy o udzielaniu cudzoziemcom ochrony na terytorium Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej (Act on granting protection to foreigners in the territory of the Republic of Poland) - Art 97
Poland - Ustawy o udzielaniu cudzoziemcom ochrony na terytorium Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej (Act on granting protection to foreigners in the territory of the Republic of Poland) - Art 47
Poland - Kodeksu post powania administracyjnego (Code of Administrative Procedure) - Art. 7
Poland - Kodeksu post powania administracyjnego (Code of Administrative Procedure) - Art. 77
Poland - Kodeksu post powania administracyjnego (Code of Administrative Procedure) - Art. 80
Poland - Kodeksu post powania administracyjnego (Code of Administrative Procedure) - Art. 107(3)
Poland - Ustawy Prawo o ustroju sądów administracyjnych (Polish Administrative Court System Act) - Art 151
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Headnote: 

Acts of a criminal nature cannot be equated with persecution within the meaning of grounds cited under the Convention. Public authorities in the country of origin, which the family of the foreignor did not contact, are supposed to provide protection against risks posed by individual citizens.

Facts: 

D.U., a citizen of Georgia, applied for refugee status for herself and for her two minor children. She applied for international protection on the grounds of persecution and bullying of her family on the basis of nationality and religion. For these reasons, the children were looked down upon at school by the teachers and poorly treated by schoolmates. The family had financial problems. The foreignor was not working. The situation improved when her husband borrowed money and started his own business. As the business went badly, and further debts built up, creditors started to threaten them.

On rejection of the application by the Office for Foreigners, the foreignor appealed. The Polish Council for Refugees shared the view of the Office for Foreigners and refused her protection. The Council stressed that the applicant had cited fear of persecution due to nationality and religion but in no way demonstrated the circumstances that might lend credibility to the assertion of a genuine threat of persecution. The authority took the view that the fear experienced and expressed by the foreignor could not be viewed as well founded.

The foreignor appealed to the Regional Administrative Court against the decision by the Council seeking to have it overturned.

Decision & Reasoning: 

The Regional Administrative Court dismissed the appeal.

The Court found that the evidence in this case had been collected and examined very carefully by the authorities at first and second instance. The Court stressed that the foreignor had in no way shown that the aggression of neighbours, teachers, or others expressing hostility towards her family was on such a scale as would fulfil the conditions for refugee status to be granted, for subsidiary protection to be provided, or for right to remain to be granted. The Court therefore concluded that she did not have a well-founded fear of persecution in her country of origin on the grounds of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership of a particular social group, as her fears had apparently arisen only from the hostility towards other nationalities she said had been shown by some citizens, namely teachers and her sons' schoolmates.

If family members had indeed been humiliated and creditors had made criminal threats, then crimes had been committed. The case needed to be dealt with by law enforcement agencies, as the acts cited by the foreignor were crimes and were not covered by the rules governing international protection. The Court stressed that the case law of administrative courts is consistent in the view that acts of a criminal nature cannot be equated with persecution within the meaning of grounds cited under the Convention. Public authorities in the country of origin, which the family of the foreignor did not contact, are supposed to provide protection against risks posed by individual citizens.

The appeal was therefore dismissed.

Outcome: 

The Court dismissed the appeal.

Observations/Comments: 

The judgment concerns the concept of persecution and indicates that acts of a criminal nature cannot be equated with persecution within the meaning of grounds cited under the Convention. The state is responsible for protection in such situations. The grounds do not indicate that, in this case, there may be a basis for recognising refugee status if the state does not provide the due protection against criminal acts and the reason for this failure to provide protection is race, religion, nationality, belonging to a particular social group, or political opinion, on the part of the victim.

The content of the judgment is available at the Central Database of Judgments:

http://orzeczenia.nsa.gov.pl/doc/538C83230E