Belgium – CALL decides on duty of authorities to investigate employment status in country of origin

Friday, May 4, 2018

The case concerned an Afghan woman who worked for international organisations in Afghanistan. She was contacted by the Taliban who demanded that she leave her employment. The applicant later received death threats from the Taliban whilst working for the Afghan border police. Upon examination of her asylum request in Belgium, the domestic immigration authorities disbelieved her claim that she had worked for international organisations and the applicant was denied any form of international protection status.

On appeal, the CALL first set out the legal framework around the burden of proof in such cases. Belgian law, transposing Article 4 the Directive 2011/95/EU, provides that, in principle, it is for the applicant to provide all the elements necessary to substantiate their application as soon as possible. The applicant must therefore make an effort to submit any available evidence, including by means of statements or other relevant documents.

However, the competent authorities should assess the relevant elements of the application in cooperation with the applicant. Moreover, this assessment should be conducted strictly on an individual basis. Doubts about certain aspects of a story do not relieve the competent authority of the task of assessing parts of the claim that are based on elements which are beyond doubt. In this vein, the Council notably stressed that on the basis of the information provided by the applicant, the immigration authorities could contact the international organisations in Afghanistan to check whether she had worked for them.

The Council concluded that the immigration authorities failed in their duty to investigate the applicant’s employment status in Afghanistan and annulled the decision of the immigration authorities. 

Based on an unofficial translation by the ELENA Weekly Legal Update.

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the weekly ELENA 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.



Country of origin information
Credibility assessment
Standard of proof