Human Rights Committee: Deportation to Afghanistan would amount to breach of Article 7 ICCPR

Monday, November 18, 2019

On 18 November 2019, the Human Rights Committee (the Committee) published its views in A.B.H v Denmark, CCPR/C/126/D/2603/2015, concerning the risk of inhuman and degrading treatment in the event of deportation to Afghanistan.

The applicant, an Afghan national, previously worked for Afghanistan intelligence forces and the National Directorate of Security where he trained with Afghan and US forces to apprehend the Taliban. Several threatening letters were sent to the applicant by the Taliban, and an attempt was made to kill him. After being kidnapped he was able to escape, but was also informed that the Afghan authorities had searched his home due to a suspicion that he was affiliated with the Taliban. He entered Denmark in December 2013 and applied for asylum. The request and subsequent appeals were rejected due to concerns about his credibility because of the lack of detail in his account of detention. The applicant complains that he would be exposed to a real risk of torture or ill treatment contrary to Article 7 ICCPR from both the Taliban and Afghan authorities if returned to his country of origin.

The Committee noted that the risk of treatment contrary to Article 7 must reach a high threshold and be personal. In this case, the issue before the Committee was to determine whether past affiliation with international forces would indicate a future risk of persecution. Referring to jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights in H. and B. v United Kingdom, it noted that the individual circumstances of the applicant, as well as his connections and profile, should be examined. Similarly, the Committee noted the ruling in J.K and others v Sweden, which found that past ill treatment provided a strong indication of a future real risk of ill treatment in cases where a generally coherent and credible account of events has been presented.

Indeed, the Committee noted that while the applicant’s account had originally been deemed not credible, his account had been reassessed and accepted as fact on appeal. The issue was therefore not one of credibility, but whether the facts of the applicant’s account indicated a real risk of ill treatment. It concluded that the State had failed to conduct an individualised assessment which took into account the real and personal foreseeable risk of ill treatment by both the Taliban and Afghan authorities. It therefore found that the applicant’s removal to Afghanistan would amount to a violation of Article 7 ICCPR.

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.


Assessment of facts and circumstances
Individual assessment
Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Personal circumstances of applicant
Previous persecution
Real risk