Finland – Supreme Administrative Court decides on possibility to return Afghan family to Kabul

Thursday, February 7, 2019

On 7 February, the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) of Finland delivered a judgment on a case concerning the return of an Afghan family of six from Finland to Kabul, Afghanistan.

The family had been residing in Iran for 14 years, before traveling to Finland to apply for asylum. The Finnish Immigration Service rejected their application after examining and accepting the possibility for them to return to Kabul. On appeal, the Administrative Court followed the same line based on country of origin information, as well as reports by a psychologist and two teachers. The Court found that the existence of a supportive family network in Kabul and the availability of mental health services in the capital were sufficient to support their possibility to return. Moreover, the children would have the advantage of growing up with their parents in a cultural environment familiar to them. It then concluded that there were no grounds to justify international protection or a residence permit for humanitarian reasons.

The applicants challenged the decision and submitted a medical report by a psychiatrist attesting to the need for the hospitalisation of one of the children. The Court did not accept the applicant's claim for international protection, considering instead that their case would be one of humanitarian considerations given the current security situation in the country and the capital.

The Court referred to its recent case law, as well as the guidelines recently adopted by UNHCR and EASO to confirm that the security situation in Afghanistan has been deteriorating significantly over 2017 and 2018. It also noted the heavy burden Kabul's infrastructure has been facing due to internal displacement towards the capital, which creates a critical situation that significantly weakens opportunities for settlement there. The Court acknowledged the existence of a family network that could support the applicants but stated that considerations regarding the family's four children and the mental health disorder one of them is facing should prevail. Lastly, the fact that they have been living for more than fourteen years outside Afghanistan further points to the finding that their return there could not be considered reasonable.

The contested decision was annulled and the case was remitted to the Immigration Services for the issuance of a residence permit.

Based on an unofficial translation by the ELENA Weekly Legal Update.


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.                                                      


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