An Administrative Court in Germany suspended the return of an Iranian asylum seeker and her 10-year-old child to France under the so-called Dublin Regulation. The court ruled that there was sufficient proof that two might be subjected to severe hardship, and spoke of a potential for a “violation of human rights” in this particular instance.
The Administrative Court of Arnsberg ruled in April that transferring the Iranian asylum seeker and her daughter back to France, where she had first entered the European Union, would violate their rights under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) - which prohibits torture, and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
The asylum seeker and her daughter were due to be sent back under provisions of the Dublin III Regulation but succeeded in winning their appeal, stating that they would face poor humanitarian conditions if they were returned to France. They appealed the decision dated February 2, 2019 and had the ruling overturned in less than three months.
Rejected and raped
The court announced on April 25, 2019 that it had decided to uphold the suspension as the requirements of Article 3 were indeed met in this case, highlighting that based on their previous experience in France, the mother and her daughter would have difficulties in securing a livelihood, find sufficient shelter or be able to access medical care as is required for the asthmatic 10-year-old child.
Going into further detail, the court shared that the asylum seeker and her daughter had been told by French authorities that they could only file their asylum claim after proving that they had been destitute for 45 days, and that they would only be granted access to an asylum shelter after three months in France.
The pair subsequently had been forced to live on the streets and sleep in airport terminals. The mother was raped during this time and became suicidal, telling the court that she would have ended her life if she didn’t have to care for her daughter.
After these traumatic experiences, she contacted a relative living in Germany and traveled there to apply for asylum instead of filing her claim in France.
Complicated situation in France
The court also acknowledged that Dublin returnees to France face a great deal of uncertainty while stressing that there were no overall shortcomings in the French asylum system.
However, it analyzed official reports on asylum procedures in France and stated that in certain instances there are indeed inherent complexities involved in registering asylum seekers in France. It also underscored that there were limited numbers of places available in France.
Based on the applicant’s previous experience and her current psychological state, the court decided to grant her the suspension of the slated Dublin transfer, stating that she had shown she qualified under Article 3 of the ECHR. It added that due to her previous experience and current mental state, she might not be able to muster up the personal initiative to follow the procedures in France.
The court stressed, however, that this was an exceptional case, and stated that the vast majority of appeals against Dublin III would not qualify as crossing the threshold of requirements stipulated under Article 3 of the ECHR. In doing so, the court referred, among other preceding cases, back to a case dating all the way back to 2013 - two years before the so-called refugee crisis actually started.