Slovenia - The Supreme Court of Republic of Slovenia, I Up 291/2014, 10 December 2014

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
10-12-2014
Citation:
I Up 291/2014
Court Name:
The Supreme Court of the Republic of Slovenia
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
Slovenia - International protection Act (ZMZ) Article 2
Slovenia - International protection Act (ZMZ) Article 2(2)
Slovenia - International protection Act (ZMZ) Article 21
Slovenia - International protection Act (ZMZ) Article 21(3)
Slovenia - International protection Act (ZMZ) Article 24
Slovenia - International protection Act (ZMZ) Article 24(3)
Slovenia - International protection Act (ZMZ) Article 25
Slovenia - International protection Act (ZMZ) Article 25(2)
Slovenia - International protection Act (ZMZ) Article 26
Slovenia - International protection Act (ZMZ) Article 28
Slovenia - International protection Act (ZMZ) Article 68
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version
Headnote: 

The internal protection alternative is not only possible when the security situation in the proposed area is so poor that the threshold of serious harm would be met, but also when the applicant cannot reasonably be expected to settle down in a designated area. In order to establish the latter it is not enough to hypothetically assume that the applicant can arrange the housing by himself and take care of his social and economic security or that as a young man he could find work and survive. It is necessary to determine whether in the place of IPA, economic and social existence is assured at least to the extent that the threshold for a violation of Article 3 of the Convention is not met.  

Facts: 

The application for prolongation of subsidiary protection of an Afghan applicant was rejected because the applicant now turned 18 and the Asylum authority considered that the security situation in his home province Logar as well as in Kabul was now such that he could be returned there. In assessing that Kabul is an appropriate internal protection alternative (IPA), the Asylum authority relied on existing reports which stated that despite the applicants not having professional qualifications and relatives in Kabul, they would have a greater chance to find work, housing and build social networks, if they were young, healthy, single men. The assessment of IPA mainly related to the issue of security in terms of threat to the applicant's life due to indiscriminate violence in situations of internal armed conflict. The Asylum authority did not deem it necessary to examine whether the country of origin would guarantee economic and social rights to the adult applicants, because the adults are expected to be able to take care of themselves.

The Administrative court stated that the security situation in Logar province is still unsafe for the applicant, however the internal protection in Kabul is possible and rejected the appeal. The Administrative court only focused its assessment on the security in Kabul in terms of the threat to the applicant’s life due to indiscriminate violence. The Administrative court was of the opinion that socio-economic conditions could be part of the IPA assessment only in exceptional circumstances: "The applicant however, cannot rely on the poor living conditions in Kabul (poor sanitation, living in tents, huge unemployment and so forth), because they do not present serious harm within the meaning of Article 15 of Qualification Directive."  “Humanitarian and socio-economic conditions are exceptionally taken into account, but only in those cases where human life is in danger for reasons such as the spread of infectious disease, starvation, and the like.”

Decision & Reasoning: 

The Supreme Court ruled that a hypothetical presumption that the applicant can arrange housing by himself and take care of his social and economic security or that as a young man he could find work and survive, is not sufficient for the application of IPA. It is necessary to determine whether in the place of IPA, economic and social existence is assured at least to the extent that the threshold for a violation of Article 3 of the Convention is not met.  The Supreme Court explicitly mentioned the two criteria needed to assess the application of IPA: "The so-called “protection test” and the “reasonableness test” of settling down in the safe area of a country, must be carried out by the court with due care, and that includes finding a safe way to the IPA, a real expectation that the applicant will be accepted in the area of the IPA and that they can settle down or that they will not be forced to leave this place due to inhumane or degrading conditions; and these include (1) safety and security, (2) respect for basic human rights, and (3) possibility of economic survival, taking into account personal circumstances."

Regarding the situation in refugee camps or settlements of internally displaced persons (IDPs), the Supreme Court stated that “the applicant shall be guaranteed an individualised share of assets to meet their most basic needs such as food, sanitation, shelter, taking into account their personal circumstances. It is therefore necessary to determine whether the applicant has a real chance of economic survival, taking into account their personal circumstances.”

Outcome: 

The Supreme court quashed the judgement of the Administrative court and ordered a new procedure. 

Observations/Comments: 
Other sources cited: 

ECRE, Actors of Protection and the Application of the Internal Protection Alternative, 2014.

Kay Hailbronner, EU Immigration and Asylum Law – commentary on EU Regulations and Directives