Belgium: CALL suspends Dublin transfer over doubts of age

Sunday, June 26, 2016

On 26 June 2016, the Council for Alien Law Litigation (CALL) suspended the expulsion of an Angolan woman because of doubts related to her age. Travelling to Belgium on a Portuguese visa, the applicant applied for asylum there in February 2016 claiming to be an unaccompanied asylum seeking child. After an examination the Belgian authorities established that she was an adult and therefore started the Dublin procedure to return her to Portugal. Portugal accepted the take back request in May 2016. She appealed against this decision submitting a birth certificate as a new element in the dossier. The transfer was postponed for 7 days and the case was submitted to the CALL for a suspension.

The CALL declared the case admissible and subsequently assessed the extreme urgency, the prima facie seriousness of the reasons for suspension and the question whether a transfer could lead irreparable harm to the applicant. The Council declared that the extreme urgency requirement was automatically fulfilled on the basis of Article 39/82 (4) of the Aliens Act because as the applicant was in detention. The prima facie seriousness of the reasons for suspension is related to the issue of whether the Angolan woman is a child. Based on the Dublin III Regulation read in conjunction with Articles 13 ECHR and 24 of the Charter, the Court found that treating a possible child as an adult was a serious enough reason to satisfy this condition. The Court based this on the fact that there will be no safeguards in place for the child to be treated as such if she is transferred to Portugal as an adult. Besides this, Portugal also did not give its consent to taking back a child, which would be in breach of Article 6 of the Dublin III Regulation. Finally the Council said that transferring the Angolan national would harm the interest of the child if it would be established that the she is indeed a child.

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 supported by the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Funding Programme and distributed by email. 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, the IRC or its partners.



Assessment of facts and circumstances
Benefit of doubt
Best interest of the child
Dublin Transfer
Effective remedy (right to)
Unaccompanied minor