The Netherlands – District Court finds family of Hazara ethnicity faces Article 3 risk upon return to Afghanistan

Monday, January 14, 2019

On 14 January, the District Court of The Hague decided on the possibility to return an Afghan family of Hazara ethnicity from the Netherlands back to Afghanistan.

The family had submitted three asylum applications, which had been rejected by the Dutch authorities. Their third application in 2018 alleged an increased risk of serious harm upon return as the result of continuous deterioration of the security situation as documented, inter alia, in the latest UNHCR Guidelines and a recent report by the UN Secretary-General. Following the third rejection of the asylum claim by the Dutch authorities, the applicants challenged the decision before the district court.

The Court based its considerations on the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union in case C-465/07 (Elgafaji), emphasising the broad notion of threat to life in Article 15 (c) of Directive 2011/95/EU and noting that the degree of arbitrary violence required is lower if the applicants are found to be at risk due to their personal circumstances too. In this connection, the authorities failed to properly assess the applicant’s specific claims regarding their Hazara ethnicity against the backdrop of the security situation in their province of origin.

The Court also took note of the documents submitted by the applicants and stated that the updated reports show that the security situation has recently deteriorated due to large-scale Taliban attacks in the Ghazni province, many of which target Hazara populations. Although the authorities accepted that the Taliban forces have expanded their control over the specific province, they wrongly refused to consider the situation as serious enough.

The Court concluded that the applicants would face a real risk of serious harm if returned and annulled the decision. The authorities were instructed to issue a new decision taking into account the judgment.

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. 



Indiscriminate violence
Serious harm