The Netherlands: Ruling against return to Greece for vulnerable beneficiaries of international protection

Monday, July 15, 2019

On 15 July, the Dutch Council of State ruled to suspend the transfer to Greece under the Dublin III Regulation 604/2013 (the Dublin Regulation) of a single mother and her daughter, who were considered vulnerable. The mother and daughter had previously been granted asylum residence permits in Greece.

The Court first recalled the findings of the Ibrahim judgment (C-297/17) from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which found that a transfer of a status holder under the Dublin Regulation cannot occur if it risks a violation of Article 4 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (the Charter), the equivalent of Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). In assessing a transfer appeal, the relevant court must conduct an examination of whether there are structural deficiencies in the Member State concerned or deficiencies that affect certain groups of people. It must make this assessment with regard to the threshold of seriousness required for a violation of Article 4 of the Charter.

In examining the situation in Greece for returning status holders, the Court referenced its own case law from 2018 where it found that returned status holders had difficulties in finding paid work, accessing healthcare and did not receive state support to find accommodation. In the case from 2018, the Court held that the situation did not risk a deprivation of basic material needs and thus did not suspend the transfer.

With regard to the instant case, the Court found that the situation had not changed in Greece since the previous ruling. Nonetheless, given the serious mental health problems faced by the daughter and the fact that she requires constant care from her mother, it held that they would struggle to earn an income if returned and would have difficulty accessing medical and psychological care.

The Court held that the State Secretary must re-assess the case with due consideration of the vulnerability of the applicants and examine whether they would risk exposure to inhuman or degrading treatment if returned to Greece.

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



Dublin Transfer
Vulnerable person