Belgium: Council for Aliens Law Litigation suspends Dublin transfer to Bulgaria

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

In an appeal decision taken on 1 June 2016, the Belgian appeal body, the Council for Aliens Law Litigation (CALL), suspended a Dublin transfer of an Afghan national to Bulgaria on grounds that such a transfer would lead to a breach of article 3 of the Convention. The Afghan national applied for asylum in Belgium on 20 August 2015 and received a return decision on 26 April 2016 after the acceptance of a take back request by Bulgaria.

The CALL first established that the reasons for suspension have to be prima facie sufficiently serious. Under this criterion the Council looked at the AIDA report for Bulgaria to establish that the conditions in the reception centres in Bulgaria deteriorated during 2015. Additionally,the ELENA/ECRE research note on the reception conditions in Bulgaria was used to explain several obstacles in all stages of the asylum procedures and the systematic use of detention. Reports from UNHCR and Amnesty International were also cited to conclude that there could be a violation of article 3 of the Convention if the applicant were returned to Bulgaria. In line with the obligation laid down in Auad v Belgium, the Council decided that the Belgian State Secretary for Asylum and Migration also failed to counter the arguments in the reports by not thoroughly informing himself on the foreseeable consequences of a forced return by merely stating that there was no recent UNHCR report advising countries not to return to Bulgaria. The Court finally considered that, in light of Article 13 of the Convention, a suspension is the only way the applicant can be guaranteed an effective legal remedy and thus suspended the transfer decision. This decision was confirmed in another decision taken the same day where again an Afghan national saw his return decision to Bulgaria suspended due to the possibility of a breach of article 3 of the Convention.

The ELENA Weekly Legal Update would like to thank Hilde Van Vreckom for notifying us of this judgment.

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the weekly ELENA legal update supported by the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Funding Programme and distributed by email. 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, the IRC or its partners.



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