Cyprus: Refugee status must be granted due to inability for authorities to guarantee protection to applicant*

Friday, June 5, 2020

On 5 June 2020, the Administrative Court of International Protection of Cyprus ruled on the application of Article 1D of the 1951 Refugee convention to a case of a stateless person of Palestinian origin.

The applicant made a request for asylum in Cyprus and the domestic authorities granted him subsidiary protection status on account of the serious harm he would be exposed to upon return to Gaza. He appealed against the decision, claiming that the authorities failed to recognise the protection he received from UNRWA and to grant him refugee status in accordance with the jurisprudence of the CJEU.

The Court first found that the applicant had indeed received UNRWA protection, since he had submitted a registration card and other residence-related documents, which according to the CJEU’s jurisprudence were sufficient to establish his claim of being an UNRWA beneficiary. Moving on to the application of Article 1D of the 1951 Refugee Convention, the Court referred to the CJEU cases of El Kott and Alheto, noting that the applicant is not required to prove fear of persecution but the asylum authorities have to individually examine whether the applicant was actually receiving UNRWA protection and whether that protection has ceased for objective reasons of insecurity and cannot be addressed by the organisation.

Looking into the domestic findings, the Court noted that according to many humanitarian reports there are ongoing hostilities and the authorities there cannot effectively protect the applicant from persecution or serious harm. Following the El Kott interpretation, the Court concluded that the national authorities failed to recognise the applicant’s refugee status and modified the contested decision accordingly.

*Based on an unofficial translation by the EWLU team. A full legal summary of this judgment can be found on the EDAL website, managed by ECRE.

Many thanks to Corina Drousiotou, ELENA Coordinator for Cyprus, for informing us about this judgment and to Stavros Papageorgopoulos, legal officer at ECRE, for assisting with the summary.

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the ELENA Weekly 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.                               

Actors of protection
Individual assessment
Refugee Status
Serious harm