Belgium – CALL grants subsidiary protection status to four unaccompanied children from Afghanistan

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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

On 12 February, the Belgian Council for Alien Law Litigation (CALL) ruled in a case concerning the application for international protection submitted by four underage brothers of Afghan nationality.

The applicants had fled their country after their father was targeted by Taliban militia on account of his professional activities with the Afghan authorities. They applied for asylum in Belgium but the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRS) denied their requests due to lack of credibility, as the applicants’ submissions were found contradictory and not elaborate enough. The lack of detail and consistency in their narratives prompted the authorities to conclude that the submitted ID documents (taskara) could not establish their place of origin or their risk profile.

On appeal, the Council accepted the applicants’ documents and noted that any concerns on their authenticity should not lead to their validity being considered as entirely non-existent. Similarly, the fact that there is an extensive network in Afghanistan providing false documents cannot justify an automatic conclusion that these documents are fraudulent. The authorities should have considered additional documents in the applicants’ files, such as their school certificates, to wholly assess their credibility. Further commenting on the applicants’ credibility, the CALL stated that the questions posed by the Commissioner General were not age-appropriate and did not take into account their inability to express themselves as adults. Moreover, the Commissioner General had not evaluated the security situation in their region, the Baghlan province, as their place of origin or former residence had not been established.

The Council analysed the applicants’ submissions on the security situation in their province, as well as the relevant CJEU jurisprudence, and concluded that the level of indiscriminate violence in that region does not pose a threat to a person’s life solely on account of their presence in that territory. The threat, however, must also be assessed in light of their vulnerability as unaccompanied minors. In this connection, the applicants’ young age establishes a real risk of serious and individual threat and justifies the granting of subsidiary protection status.

Based on an unofficial translation by the ELENA Weekly Legal Update. Many thanks to Cécile Ghymers, lawyer in Brussels, for bringing this case to our attention.

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the weekly ELENA legal update. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE.                                                       


Credibility assessment
Serious harm
Subsidiary Protection
Unaccompanied minor
Vulnerable person