Finland: Kurdish appellant would face real risk of suffering serious harm if returned to Turkey

Monday, July 13, 2020

On 13 July 2020, the Supreme Administrative Court (the SAC) published its judgment (Case KHO:2020:88) concerning the refusal to grant international protection status on the basis of the applicant’s political opinion and activities.

The applicant is a Turkish national of Kurdish ethnicity. He was a member of the People’s Democratic Party while in Turkey and participated in a number of political demonstrations. His home was raided once and he was arrested four times year 2016. He was beaten during the raids and during one arrest. His request for asylum was rejected by the Finnish Immigration Service (FIS) on the basis that, inter alia, the applicant was no longer of interest to the Turkish authorities and would no longer be at risk of further arrests in the event of return. The Administrative Court (AC) rejected the appeal.

The Supreme Administrative Court first observed that the Finnish Immigration Service had considered the arrests and beatings to be categorised as acts of persecution. The issue for the SAC to address was, inter alia, the meaning of the past persecution when considering the need of international protection in future.

The SAC noted first, that according to the COI, the Kurdish background and the membership of HDP cannot be regarded as ground for granting international protection alone. It stated, that when considering the information about the applicant’s experiences and activities, according to the COI, and when considering the potential future risk, there was no link to the persecution grounds required for asylum status. The SAC therefore concluded that the applicant did not have well-founded fear for persecution in respect of reasons connected to him individually. Nevertheless, the SAC concluded, in light of the updated COI on South-East Turkey, there were sufficient grounds to consider that the appellant would be in real danger of suffering serious harm in the event of return to Turkey. It therefore concluded that the decisions of the Finnish Immigration Service and AC must be annulled and the case remitted to the FIS for the purpose of issuing a residence permit on the basis of subsidiary protection.

Many thanks to Liisa Välimäki and Marjaana Laine, ELENA coordinators for Finland, for assisting with drafting this summary. Based on an unofficial translation by the EWLU team.

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

Political Opinion
Serious harm