Finland: Supreme Administrative Court rules that request for international protection was assessed incorrectly

Monday, December 9, 2019

The Supreme Administrative Court recently ruled (case no. KHO:2019:149) on an erroneous decision to deny international protection following an assessment based on the incorrect country of origin.

In December 2016, the Immigration Service rejected the applicant’s claim for international protection and ordered his return to Somalia. The applicant is a Somali national but was born and lived his whole life in Saudi Arabia: he has never been to Somalia, does not speak Somali, and does not know his remaining relatives there. Despite this, the Immigration Service examined his application for international protection in relation to Somalia. On appeal, the Administrative Court concluded that there was no risk in relation to the applicant’s personal circumstances or the general situation in Somalia that suggested a risk of serious harm. It concluded that there existed no grounds justifying international protection.

The applicant complained that he believed his asylum request was being assessed in relation to Saudi Arabia rather than Somalia. Indeed, the questions addressed to the applicant during the asylum interviews related to both countries, but only one question was related to the need for international protection in case of return to Somalia.

The Supreme Administrative Court noted that the applicant should have been clearly informed of how his request was being examined. It concluded that the Immigration Service had failed to conduct a proper investigation in the case and it was unclear in relation to which country the request was being assessed. The Court added that an adequate and proper investigation must include, inter alia, an inquiry into the applicant’s attitude to the possible removal from his country of origin, which was absent in this decision. The Supreme Administrative Court annulled the decision and referred the case back to the Immigration Service.

Based on an unofficial translation by the EWLU team.

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 pusexblished but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE.

Country of origin
Country of origin information
Individual assessment