France: Administrative Court of Appeal of Lyon upholds decision against transfer of Afghan nationals to Finland where their asylum application was rejected and a return order was issued

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

On 13 March 2018, the Administrative Court of Appeal of Lyon ruled in case nos. 17LY02181 – 17LY02184 concerning two Afghan nationals and their children who unsuccessfully applied for asylum in Finland in December 2015. In December 2016, the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland rejected the applicant’s appeal. They received an order to leave the territory with an entry ban valid for two years. They left to France where they lodged another asylum application. The Regional Prefect of Rhône decided to transfer the applicants to Finland as that Member State were to be considered responsible for their asylum application in observance of the Dublin III Regulation (DRIII). On appeal, the Administrative Tribunal of Lyon quashed the transfer decision and ruled inter alia that the applicants risked being subject to chain refoulement to Afghanistan if returned to Finland and ordered the national authorities to register their asylum application by applying the derogation clause under Article 17 DRIII.

The Regional Prefect of Rhône appealed against this decision before the Administrative Court of Appeal of Lyon. The Court of Appeal of Lyon ruled that the lower court had erred in concluding that the existence of a return decision followed by an entry ban was an obstacle to the issuance of a take back request to Finland. However, it upheld the lower court’s understanding that there is, in Kabul, a situation of indiscriminate violence as a result of the internal armed conflict in Afghanistan. Therefore, by not deciding to take responsibility for the asylum application and ordering the transfer of the applicants to Finland, where they could then be returned to Afghanistan, the transfer decision was unlawful and had to be quashed.

Based on an unofficial translation by the ELENA Weekly Legal Update. We would like to thank Flor Tercero for bringing this decision to our attention. Similar decisions concerning the transfer of Afghan and Iraqi nationals to Norway, Finland and Sweden were taken by the French Administrative Tribunals in 2017.


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Dublin Transfer
Indirect refoulement
Indiscriminate violence
Internal armed conflict