Migrants and asylum seekers at the CARA reception center in Castelnuovo di Porto | Photo: ANSA/MASSIMO PERCOSSI
Migrants and asylum seekers at the CARA reception center in Castelnuovo di Porto | Photo: ANSA/MASSIMO PERCOSSI

It is not legal to reject asylum requests on the basis of generic "international sources," Italy's highest court has ruled. Instead, the authorities must avoid "stereotyped formulas" and seek out "updated information" on the safety situation in the country of origin.

The Court of Cassation has said that mass rejections of asylum requests on the basis of generic "international sources" that allegedly attest to a lack of conflict in an asylum seeker's home country must be stopped. 

The court called on magistrates to avoid "stereotyped formulas" and to "specify the sources" that acquired "updated information on the country of origin" of asylum seekers. 

Pakistani who had asylum request denied

The ruling came in response to an appeal filed by a Pakistani national whose request for humanitarian protection was rejected. The Lecce prefect's office commission and then the court of the city had, in 2017, rejected the request of Ali S. for international protection. 

Ali - who was defended by the lawyer Nicola Lonoce - told the court that his asylum request had been rejected "on the basis of generic information on the domestic situation in Pakistan, without taking into consideration the available proof" and without the judge having used his power to investigate. 

Judge must ascertain actual conditions of country 

The Court of Cassation ruled in favor of Ali S. His case will now be reexamined in Lecce. 

The high court judges said that whenever anyone requests asylum, the local judge must ascertain "to what extent, in the country of origin'' of the asylum seeker, "there is indiscriminate violence, in situations of domestic or international conflict, that expose civilians to a serious or individual risk to their lives," and must indicate the sources taken into consideration. 
 

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