A.T.H. v. the Netherlands (no. 54000/11), 17 November 2015, inadmissibility decision

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The case of A.T.H. v. the Netherlands relates to an Eritrean national who was granted subsidiary protection in Italy, having claimed asylum in 2007 under a false identity. She left Italy prior to the expiry of her residence permit as she was destitute and had no material assistance.  She claimed asylum in the Netherlands in 2009 which was rejected as Italy was deemed responsible under the Dublin II Regulation, and her appeals against this decision were dismissed.

She lodged an application with the ECtHR alleging that transfer would be contrary to Article 3 ECHR on account of the reception conditions for asylum seekers in Italy, in particular as she had a minor daughter, and had been diagnosed with HIV. Interim Rule 39 measures were granted to prevent her transfer. Following a number of requests for further information from both governments, including information from the Dutch authorities on their practical implementation of Tarakhel v. Switzerland, the Court lifted the Rule 39 indication in March 2015.

In August 2015, the Netherlands submitted to the ECtHR a circular letter sent by the Italian interior ministry to Dublin Units in other Member States on 8 June 2015 , informing of its revised policy relating to transfers of families with children. It then scheduled the applicant’s transfer to Italy, having received a guarantee as to accommodation and family unity from the Italian Dublin Unit and the details of their reception. The Dutch authorities informed the Italian authorities of the applicant’s health problems on the transfer documentation, and stated their assumption that the applicant and her daughter would be accommodated in a SPRAR-project.

The applicant requested the ECtHR to issue a fresh Rule 39 indication to prevent her transfer, arguing that the guarantees were generic and inadequate. She highlighted the insufficient number of places for families with children in the SPRAR projects (161), in comparison to the number of arrivals in Italy, arguing that she was at risk of destitution and violation of Article 2 and 3 ECHR due to poor living conditions in Italy. The Rule 39 application was rejected on 3 September 2015.

Reiterating its findings in Tarakhel, the Court noted that the applicant was a member of a particularly vulnerable group taking into account her medical condition, and her situation as a single mother with a minor daughter. However it found that the applicant had not established that she would not be given a SPRAR reception place or denied access to adequate healthcare, in view of the fact that the Italian authorities had been informed of the transfer of her and her daughter and her condition. It further found no basis to the allegation that she would not have access to resources in Italy, as an asylum seeking single mother. It stated that it was open to the applicant to lodge a fresh application to the Court should this be necessary. It concluded that there was no real risk of harm severe enough to fall within the scope of Article 3 and declared the application manifestly ill-founded and inadmissible. 

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Dublin Transfer
Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Material reception conditions
Medical Reports/Medico-legal Reports
Reception conditions
Subsidiary Protection