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Case Law

Case Law includes national and international jurisprudential decisions. Administrative bodies and tribunals are included.
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Ioane Teitiota v. New Zealand (advance unedited version)

9.11 The Committee takes note of the observation of the Immigration and Protection Tribunal that climate change-induced harm can occur through sudden-onset events and slowonset processes. Reports indicate that sudden-onset events are discrete occurrences that have an immediate and obvious impact over a period of hours or days, while slow-onset effects may have a gradual, adverse impact on livelihoods and resources over a period of months to years. Both sudden-onset events (such as intense storms and flooding) and slow-onset processes (such as sea level rise, salinization, and land degradation) can propel cross-border movement of individuals seeking protection from climate change-related harm. 27 The Committee is of the view that without robust national and international efforts, the effects of climate change in receiving states may expose individuals to a violation of their rights under articles 6 or 7 of the Covenant, thereby triggering the non-refoulement obligations of sending states. Furthermore, given that the risk of an entire country becoming submerged under water is such an extreme risk, the conditions of life in such a country may become incompatible with the right to life with dignity before the risk is realized.

7 January 2020 | Judicial Body: UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) | Topic(s): Climate change (including environmental migrants) - Non-refoulement - Right to life | Countries: Kiribati - New Zealand

Flor Agustina Calfunao Paillalef c. Suisse

Risque de torture ou de peines ou traitements cruels, inhumains ou dégradants en cas d’expulsion (non-refoulement)

2 January 2020 | Judicial Body: UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) | Topic(s): Expulsion - Freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment - Indigenous persons - Minorities - Non-refoulement | Countries: Chile - Switzerland

Nimo Mohamed Aden and Liban Muhammed Hassan v. Denmark

20 December 2019 | Judicial Body: UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) | Topic(s): Family reunification - Right to family life | Countries: Denmark

CASE OF N.M. v. RUSSIA (Application no. 29343/18)

The Court applied the relevant general principles established in its jurisprudence in the case of F.G. v. Sweden (no. 43611/11) and in the context of removals from Russia to Central Asian States in Mamazhonov v. Russia (no. 17239/13): a) When examining the existence of substantial grounds for believing that the applicant faces a real risk of ill-treatment, the Court recalled that individuals whose extradition was sought by the Uzbek authorities on charges of religiously or politically motivated crimes constituted vulnerable groups facing a real risk of treatment contrary to Article 3 of the Convention in the event of their removal to Uzbekistan. The Court found that the applicant was accused of religiously motivated crimes on the basis of documents from the Uzbek authorities. It further considered that the Russian authorities had at their disposal sufficiently substantiated complaints pointing to a real risk of ill-treatment (§15-18). b) With respect to the duty to assess claims of a real risk of ill-treatment through reliance on sufficient relevant material, the Court concluded that the Russian authorities failed to assess the applicant’s claim adequately. The Court paid particular attention to the fact that domestic authorities did not carry out a rigorous scrutiny of the applicant’s and to the national courts’ simplistic rejections of the applicant’s claims (§19-21). c) On the existence of a real risk of ill-treatment or danger to life in their countries of origin, the Court reiterated that it has consistently concluded that the removal of an applicant charged with religiously motivated crimes in Uzbekistan exposes that applicant to a real risk of ill-treatment there (see for example: T.M. and Others v. Russia, no. 31189/15) (§22-23).

3 December 2019 | Judicial Body: Council of Europe: European Court of Human Rights | Topic(s): Freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment | Countries: Kazakhstan - Russian Federation - Uzbekistan

CASE OF ILIAS AND AHMED v. HUNGARY (Application no. 47287/15) (Grand Chamber)

The Court found in particular that the Hungarian authorities had failed in their duty under Article 3 to assess the risks of the applicants not having proper access to asylum proceedings in Serbia or being subjected to chain-refoulement, which could have seen them being sent to Greece, where conditions in refugee camps had already been found to be in violation of Article 3. In a development of its case-law, it held that Article 5 was not applicable to the applicants’ case as there had been no de facto deprivation of liberty in the transit zone. Among other things, the Court found that the applicants had entered the transit zone of their own initiative and it had been possible in practice for them to return to Serbia, where they had not faced any danger to their life or health. Their fears of a lack of access to Serbia’s asylum system or of refoulement to Greece, as expressed under Article 3, had not been enough to make their stay in the transit zone involuntary.

21 November 2019 | Judicial Body: Council of Europe: European Court of Human Rights | Topic(s): Expulsion - Freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment - Rejection at border - Right to liberty and security - Safe third country - Transit | Countries: Bangladesh - Greece - Hungary - North Macedonia - Serbia - Turkey

CASE OF Z.A. AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA (Applications nos. 61411/15, 61420/15, 61427/15 and 3028/16) (Grand Chamber)

The Court found in particular that Article 5 was applicable to the applicants’ case as their presence in the transit zone had not been voluntary; they had been left to their own devices for the entire period of their stay, which had lasted between five and 19 months depending on the applicant; there had been no realistic prospect of them being able to leave the zone; and the authorities had not adhered to the domestic legislation on the reception of asylum-seekers. Given the absence of a legal basis for their being confined to the transit zone, a situation made worse by them being impeded in accessing the asylum system, the Court concluded that there had been a violation of the applicants’ rights protected by Article 5 § 1. The conditions the applicants had lived in had also been appalling: they had had to sleep in the transit zone, a busy and constantly lit area, with no access to washing or cooking facilities. There had thus also been a breach of Article 3 as their treatment had been degrading.

21 November 2019 | Judicial Body: Council of Europe: European Court of Human Rights | Legal Instrument: 1950 European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) | Topic(s): Airports - Arbitrary arrest and detention - Freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment - Prison or detention conditions - Right to liberty and security - Transit | Countries: Iraq - Palestine, State of - Russian Federation - Somalia - Syrian Arab Republic

SB (refugee revocation; IDP camps) Somalia [2019] UKUT 00358 (IAC)

(1) In Secretary of State for the Home Department v MS (Somalia) [2019] EWCA Civ 1345, the Court of Appeal has authoritatively decided that refugee status can be revoked on the basis that the refugee now has the ability to relocate internally within the country of their nationality or former habitual residence. The authoritative status of the Court of Appeal’s judgments in MS (Somalia) is not affected by the fact that counsel for MS conceded that internal relocation could in principle lead to cessation of refugee status. There is also nothing in the House of Lords’ opinions in R (Hoxha) v Special Adjudicator and Another [2005] UKHL 19 that compels a contrary conclusion to that reached by the Court of Appeal. (2) The conclusion of the Court of Appeal in Secretary of State for the Home Department v Said [2016] EWCA Civ 442 was that the country guidance in MOJ & Ors (Return to Mogadishu) Somalia CG [2014] UKUT 00442 (IAC) did not include any finding that a person who finds themselves in an IDP camp is thereby likely to face Article 3 ECHR harm (having regard to the high threshold established by D v United Kingdom (1997) 24 EHRR 43 and N v United Kingdom (2008) 47 EHRR 39). Although that conclusion may have been obiter, it was confirmed by Hamblen LJ in MS (Somalia). There is nothing in the country guidance in AA and Others (conflict; humanitarian crisis; returnees; FGM) Somalia [2011] UKUT 00445 (IAC) that requires a different view to be taken of the position of such a person. It will be an error of law for a judge to refuse to follow the Court of Appeal’s conclusion on this issue.

18 November 2019 | Judicial Body: United Kingdom: Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) | Topic(s): Cessation clauses - Internal flight alternative (IFA) / Internal relocation alternative (IRA) / Internal protection alternative (IPA) | Countries: Somalia - United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

CASE OF N.A. v. FINLAND (Application no. 25244/18)

Art 2 • Art 3 • Expulsion • Sunni Muslim killed shortly after removal to Iraq where he had previously suffered life-threatening incidents • Inadequate assessment of risks with regard to tensions between Shia and Sunni Muslims

14 November 2019 | Judicial Body: Council of Europe: European Court of Human Rights | Topic(s): Expulsion - Freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment - Non-refoulement - Right to life | Countries: Finland - Iraq

DC (trafficking: protection/human rights appeals) Albania [2019] UKUT 00351 (IAC)

In the light of the judgment of Flaux LJ in Secretary of State for the Home Department v MS (Pakistan) [2018] EWCA Civ 594 and subsequent decisions of the Upper Tribunal and Administrative Court, a tribunal deciding a protection or human rights appeal, which concerns alleged trafficking within the scope of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings and decisions of the Competent Authority (CA) under the United Kingdom’s National Referral Mechanism, should proceed as follows: (a) In a protection appeal, the “reasonable grounds” or “conclusive grounds” decision of the CA will be part of the evidence that the tribunal will have to assess in reaching its decision on that appeal, giving the CA’s decision such weight as is due, bearing in mind that the standard of proof applied by the CA in a “conclusive grounds” decision was the balance of probabilities. (b) In a human rights appeal, a finding by the tribunal that the CA has failed to reach a rational decision on whether the appellant has been the victim of trafficking, such as to be eligible for leave to remain in the United Kingdom for that reason alone, may lead the tribunal to allow the human rights appeal, on the basis that removing the appellant at this stage would be a disproportionate interference with the appellant’s Article 8 ECHR rights. This scenario is, however, of narrow ambit and is unlikely to be much encountered in practice. (c) In a human rights appeal, the question whether the appellant has been the victim of trafficking may be relevant to the issue of whether the appellant’s removal would breach the ECHR, even where it is not asserted there is a trafficking-related risk of harm in the country of proposed return and irrespective of what is said in sub-paragraph (b) above: e.g. where the fact of trafficking may have caused the appellant physical or psychological harm. Here, as in sub-paragraph (a) above, the CA’s decision on past trafficking will be part of the evidence to be assessed by the tribunal.

13 November 2019 | Judicial Body: United Kingdom: Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) | Topic(s): Standard of proof - Trafficking in persons | Countries: Albania - United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Bundesrepublik Deutschland gegen Adel Hamed (C‑540/17), Amar Omar (C‑541/17) (Vorlage zur Vorabentscheidung)

13 November 2019 | Judicial Body: European Union: Court of Justice of the European Union | Topic(s): Decision on admissibility - Freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment - Refugee status determination (RSD) / Asylum procedures | Countries: Germany - Syrian Arab Republic

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