Belgium: CALL recognises Kurdish woman in Turkey who has been victim of domestic violence as a refugee

Monday, November 28, 2016

This case concerns a Turkish woman of Kurdish origin who suffered severe ill-treatment by her husband and persecution by her own family in Turkey. After she obtained a divorce from her husband, she received death threats from him and was rejected by her own family. She went to Belgium, where her application for regularisation was rejected. In 2007 she married a man in Belgium at the consulate of Turkey. She had to return to Turkey to get a visa and survived there by hiding at the home of a friend. Since the woman did not get the visa and feared ill-treatment at the hands of her first husband and her family, she returned to Belgium, where she applied for asylum in 2009. The CGRS rejected her application for asylum and the woman did not appeal against that decision.
The woman then returned to Turkey, where she was mistreated by her family as she had married a Turkish man who was not chosen by them. The woman was forced to divorce from her second husband and to marry another man that her family had chosen for her. The woman fled to Belgium and applied for asylum for the second time. The CGRS again rejected her application and again she did not appeal against this decision.
After the woman received an order to leave the country by the Belgian authorities, she applied for a medical regularization under article 9ter Aliens Act, which was refused by the Aliens Office. She then applied for asylum for the third time. She also submitted medical documents. The CGRS rejected her application on the basis that she lacked credibility. The CGRS however never inquired into the situation of Kurdish females or victims of domestic violence in Turkey. The woman appealed against that decision to the CALL.
On 27 October 2016, the CALL recognised the woman as a refugee based on her membership of a particular social group. The CALL found that, as a result of the ill-treatment she endured, she has severe psychological problems such as anxiety and concentration problems. While in Belgium, she also attempted suicide on two occasions. Moreover, the woman had scars as a result of the ill-treatment and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, which is corroborated by medical evidence. It was also found that there was no available protection in Turkey, against neither the domestic violence nor the family coercion. Therefore, the CALL decides that the assessment of a well-founded fear of persecution should take into account her individual circumstances including psychological and physical trauma. The woman demonstrated that her fear of persecution is well-founded and persistent which makes her return to Turkey impossible.

Based on an unofficial translation by the ELENA Weekly Legal Update. The ELENA Weekly Legal Update is grateful to Benoit Dhondt for informing us of this case.

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Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Medical Reports/Medico-legal Reports
Membership of a particular social group
Vulnerable person