Spain: Supreme Court. Chamber for Contentious-Administrative Proceedings, 26 July 2016, DB, Appeal No. 3576/2015

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
26-07-2016
Court Name:
Tribunal Supremo. Sala de lo Contencioso
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version
Headnote: 

The applicant appeals the decision to deny asylum and subsidiary protection, made on 26th August 2014 by the Ministry of Interior, on the grounds of fear of racial discrimination in his country of origin. The appeal is denied after an assessment of the facts and circumstances. 

Facts: 

The applicant, from Côte d’Ivoire, belongs to the Dioula race and sought asylum on 28th March 2011.

The applicant, who entered Spain on 30th December 2007 has already sought asylum on 8th January 2008 and on 4th March 2008. Both applications were denied.

The applicant states in his account that in 1993/95, the President of Côte d’Ivoire died and the “Ivoirité” law was enforced. From then on, the Guro people began saying that the Dioula people were not true Ivorians, burning the fields of those they did not consider to be Ivorians. Following the death of his father in 2003, he was besieged by Guro forces who burned his field and took his belongings, claiming that he was a foreigner. His mother and brothers remained in Côte d’Ivoire, in the city of Abidjan. He learned that a number of Liberian mercenaries went to his family home and, seeing that their names indicated that they were Dioula, arrested them. The following day, the bodies of his two brothers were found and since then he has heard no news of his mother. He states that if he returns to his country, he runs the risk of being killed for being Dioula.

In April 2011, Ouattara, who is Dioula like the applicant and his family, became President. For this reason it is understood that the allegations put forwards by the applicant “are no longer relevant,” taking into account the increasing stabilisation and consolidation of the peace in Côte d’Ivoire. It was deemed that there is currently no risk to the applicant should he return to his country of origin.  

Decision & Reasoning: 

The contested judicial ruling was made on the basis of a reasonable assessment of the individual concurrent circumstances of the asylum seeker from Côte d’Ivoire, demonstrating that the applicant’s risk profile would not be considered sufficient for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to substantiate granting refugee status.

The “Interim Eligibility Guidelines for Assessing the International Protection Needs of Asylum-Seekers from Côte d'Ivoire”, released by the UNHCR on 15th June 2012, states that “Members of ethnic communities from the northern and central parts of the country are generally assumed to be pro-Ouattara. These include the Bambara, Malinké and the northern Manding or Mandé grouping (also known as Dioula).”

The Chamber concludes stating that, “with regard to asylum seekers from Côte d'Ivoire, the Spanish Supreme Court Rulings dated 17th June 2013 (App. 435572012) and 31st October 2014 (App. 407/2014) hold that “any developments in the circumstances in the country of origin from the time at which the request is submitted to when the Court ruling is made must be taken into account. Therefore, we cannot omit the most recent UNHCR report, dated 15th June 2012, which supersedes previous guidelines on Côte d'Ivoire and, in particular, which overrules the appeal for no return, included in the document dated 20th January 2011.”

Therefore, on assessing the circumstances of the applicant detailed in the UNHCR report, it does not appear, given the ethnicity of the applicant and his most recent place of residence, that there are grounds for fear of any of the risks described in Article 10 of Act 12/2009.

The ruling passed by this Chamber on 8th July 2010 (App. 1587/2010), referring to Article 17 on requests for asylum from Côte d'Ivoire, confirms the decision to deny subsidiary protection, stating: “we do not consider that the decision of the Trial Chamber to deny the right to subsidiary protection to Mr……, from Côte d'Ivoire, having affirmed the ruling made by the Ministry of Interior on 17th December 2013 to have been unreasonable or arbitrary, but rather sustain the assessment that the current political situation in the applicant’s country of origin does not justify authorising the applicant to remain in Spain on humanitarian grounds, made in the “Interim Eligibility Guidelines for Assessing the International Protection Needs of Asylum-Seekers from Côte d'Ivoire”, released by the UNHCR on 15th June 2012.

Outcome: 

Appeal denied.

Observations/Comments: 

This case summary was written by Harry Fathers, GDL student at BPP University. 

Case Law Cited: 

Spain - Supreme Court, 8th July 2010 (App. 1587/2010)

Spain - Supreme Court, App. 407/2014, 31 October 2014

Spain - Supreme Court, App. 435572012, 17 June 2013