The Netherlands – District Court rules on the duty to investigate availability of protection offered by domestic authorities

Thursday, February 14, 2019

On 14 February, the District Court of The Hague ruled in a case concerning the possibility of an Afghan asylum applicant to receive adequate protection upon return to his country.

The applicant had submitted an application for international protection in the Netherlands claiming that he had been a victim of abduction and persecution on account of his being a Shiite Hazara. The authorities rejected the application finding that the Hazaras are not a minority group in Kabul and he does not belong to a vulnerable group. Consequently, he is reasonably expected to seek protection from domestic authorities.

On appeal, the applicant argued that the authorities should have investigated whether protection was actually available before concluding that it was reasonable to expect him to turn to the authorities for help. The Court agreed with the applicant and found that, although the authorities had indeed assessed the security situation in Afghanistan, they did not substantially reason their finding that authorities in Afghanistan can offer sufficient protection to their citizens.

The Court then examined the guidance of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the security situation in Afghanistan and noted that the Afghan authorities are not in a position to offer protection against violence to the population and that the citizens depend on personal networks and relationships for their safety. It went on to exclude any exception for Kabul, the place of residence of the applicant, noting that the general picture that emerges from the guidance is incompatible with the finding that protection is available.

The contested decision was annulled and the case was remitted back to the authorities for a new decision.

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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