The Netherlands: Decrease in number of reception places in Italian SPRAR locations does not prevent transfer of particularly vulnerable foreign nationals to Italy

Friday, December 9, 2016

On 9 December 2016 the Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State has judged that the decrease in the number of reception places in the Italian SPRAR centers does not prevent the Dublin transfer of extremely vulnerable foreign nationals to Italy.
In its judgment, the Council of State refers to the European Court of Human Rights’ inadmissibility decision in N.A. and Others v. Denmark (Appl. No. 15636/16). The decision concerns a woman and her minor children who were supposed to be sent to one of the SPRAR centres earmarked for families with minor children. The Council of State found that the ECtHR partly based its negative decision on a circular letter of 15 February 2016 of the Italian Ministry of the Interior. The letter contained a list of all 85 SPRAR centres earmarked for families with minor children. The concern of the applicant that the number of places would be insufficient did not make the Court rule otherwise, because in the absence of concrete indications on the file the applicant did not demonstrate that they would not be able to get a place within such a reception center at the time they would arrive in Italy.
Based on the Court’s decision, the Council of State rules that the Secretary of State was right to take the view that no further individual guarantees were needed and that there was no risk of a violation of Article 3 ECHR when transferring the applicant and her minor child to Italy. The number of reception places within the SPRAR centers is indeed limited according to a letter provided by the Secretary of State to the Court on 23 June 2016 (which referred to the circular letter of the Italian authorities of 15 February 2016), but it has not been shown that the Italian authorities would not live up to their commitment to increase capacity if necessary. Therefore there is no ground to rule that there would be no reception places available for the applicant and her minor child following their Dublin transfer to one of the SPRAR-centers earmarked families with minor children.
Based on an unofficial translation by the ELENA Weekly Legal Update.

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Best interest of the child
Child Specific Considerations
Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Material reception conditions
Reception conditions
Vulnerable person