Belgium: CALL annuls Dublin III transfer to Italy of single woman

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

This case relates to a single woman originating from the DRC who claimed asylum in Belgium in December 2014. A request was made to Italy for information on whether it had issued the applicant with a visa, which she denied, and as no response was received the Belgian authorities requested that Italy ‘take back’ the applicant pursuant to Article 12(3) of the Dublin III Regulation. It deemed Italy to tacitly agree to this, and issued the applicant with a decision refusing her claim and ordering her removal to Italy.  On 28 April the Council of Aliens Law Litigation (CALL) agreed to suspend transfer after a request for under the procedure for extreme urgency.

The applicant alleged a breach of Article 12(4) of the Dublin III regulation, article 3 ECHRand article 4 CFR. She also alleged that the decision did not contain adequate reasoning contrary to the principle of good administration and did not take into account all relevant facts including information on the country of proposed return. She emphasised that Italy had not responded to the take back request and that as a single woman she was vulnerable. 

CALL reiterated its comments in previous judgments that in view of the delicate and evolving situation in Italy, Dublin transfers to Italy should be taken with great caution, and the decision should be based on an up-to-date, comprehensive and rigorous examination of the available information. In its assessment of the information and reports submitted (including the AIDA country report on Italy of January 2015) CALL considered that despite measures taken by the Italian authorities there was no guarantee that asylum seekers sent back to Italy will obtain adequate support and would not be forced to live in extremely difficult conditions, as the reception centres did not have sufficient capacity. This finding was in spite of the ECtHR judgment of M.S.S which found that the situation in Italy was not comparable to that in Greece.

It found that given the current information and the absence of a response from Italy, the Belgian authorities should at the very least examine the risk alleged by the applicant taking into account more up to date information. It also noted that the simple fact that the applicant was considered not to be particularly vulnerable by the Belgian authorities did not absolve the authorities of this responsibility.

CALL therefore concluded that the Belgian authorities had breached its obligation to consider all elements of the case submitted to it and did not examine the case sufficiently rigorously in view of the allegation of Article 3 ECHR risk. The decision was therefore annulled.

Based on an unofficial ELENA translation. The ELENA Weekly Legal update would like to thank Tristan Wibault for informing us of this case. 

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Dublin Transfer
Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Reception conditions
Request to take back