Belgium – CALL decides on the need for risk assessment, regardless of applicant’s inconsistent narrative

Thursday, June 28, 2018

On 28 June, the Belgian Council on Alien Law Litigation ruled on a case concerning the denial of subsidiary protection by the Commissioner General for Refugees of an Iraqi asylum seeker. 

The applicant had left the city of Mosul, after the arrival of the Islamic State, finding refuge in the Kurdish city of Duhok. After being apprehended and mistreated by the Kurdish authorities, he abandoned the country and sought asylum in Belgium. Upon examination, he was not found to meet the refugee status requirements, while his personal need for subsidiary protection was also not proven, as the applicant failed to cooperate and disclose information. Moreover, in terms of the general security situation in Iraq, it was noted that both Baghdad, as well as thirteen other provinces, can be considered as safe relocation alternatives. 

Upon appeal, the CALL agreed with the Commissioner’s assertions that the applicant did not provide sufficiently coherent information, regarding his stay before leaving the country. The Council noted, however, that doubts were only raised regarding the applicant’s stay in Kurdistan, while his Iraqi nationality and provenance from Mosul, where the Islamic State exercised authority, was not contested. As such, the applicant’s inconsistencies and lack of information provision cannot relieve the authorities of their duty to assess the real risk based on the undisputed parts of the story. 

Moreover, the Council also observed that the case files did not include any updated information on the security situation in Mosul, finding that the Commissioner failed to examine the risk specifically for the region of origin of the applicant. Notably, it stated that such a risk assessment is independent of any considerations that the applicant did not prove that he was residing in his city of origin immediately before leaving Iraq. The first-instance decision was annulled and the case was remitted back to the Commissioner General for re-examination.

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.




Standard of proof
Subsidiary Protection