Spain - High National Court, 29 December 2010, 365/2010

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
Court Name:
High National Court
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
Spain - Constitution - Art 1
Spain - Constitution - Art 3
Spain - Constitution - Art 24(1)
Spain - Constitution - Art 117(1)
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The applicant lodged an appeal before the High National Court against the decision to reject his asylum application in the preliminary examination phase. The application was rejected based on the fact that the persecution occurred in the past, the applicant had no current need for protection, and that the circumstances in the country of origin had changed. The applicant appealed stating that he had been granted “prima facie” refugee status by the UNHCR in Benin upon fleeing Togo. The High National Court stated that UNHCR certification did not amount to sufficient evidence of individualised persecution.


The applicant alleged to have suffered persecution on the grounds of political opinion. He had been an active member of the opposition party to the current government and declared that his life would be at risk if he was returned to Togo.

The application was refused on the grounds that the political conflict alleged by the applicant was not on going. Moreover, the European Union had declared that democracy was restored in Togo.

Challenging this decision, the applicant stated that he had applied for asylum in Benin and was granted “prima facie’” refugee status by the UNHCR.  (“prima facie” status was granted to a large group of refugees fleeing the conflict from Togo to Benin after the election was called in 2005). The applicant then went to Mauritania where he claimed asylum: UNHCR issued a recommendation to the Mauritanian authorities that the applicant should be granted asylum.

During the examination of the application in Spain, UNHCR issued a report that the application could be rejected in the preliminary examination phase.

Decision & Reasoning: 

The High National Court examined the evidence regarding UNHCR’s positive recommendations granting the applicant refugee status in Benin and Mauritania. The High National Court ruled that: “certification from UNHCR is not sufficient to determine the existence of individualised persecution’’.


The appeal was not successful and the High National Court declared that the applicant should not be granted refugee status.