The Netherlands – Council of State decides on credibility of Iraqi woman, whose claim was rejected based on a language report

Thursday, October 4, 2018

On 4 October the Dutch Council of State delivered a judgment on the credibility of an Iraqi applicant, whose application for a temporary asylum residence permit was rejected by the Dutch authorities. 

The State Secretary doubted her region of origin and requested a language test to verify that the applicant’s region was indeed Mosul. According to the results of the test, the applicant did not speak Arabic. Following this, the State Secretary concluded that she could not be originally from Mosul, since Arabic is the prevalent language of the region, adding that the applicant was providing false information.

The applicant appealed the decision before the District Court by arguing that the language expert’s conclusion could not prove that she was not originally from Mosul. She stated that she does not speak Arabic because she had to always stay in the house, when she was living in Mosul. However, the District Court followed the reasoning of the State Secretary and declared the appeal unfounded.

The decision was challenged before the Council of State, which noted that the State Secretary had not investigated whether the applicant’s alleged long-term stay indoors may be true and whether this could explain her weak command of Arabic. Moreover, the State Secretary’s decision was found to be inadequately reasoned.

Additionally, it found that the State Secretary had wrongly failed to address a report, which was submitted by the applicant and explicitly mentioned that Iraqi women of Kurdish background, who reside in the region of Mosul, may be forced to stay at home and thus not speak Arabic. Therefore, it concluded that the State Secretary wrongly assessed the credibility of the alien's statement that she had been living indoors for 15 years.  The appeal was declared well-founded and the contested decision was annulled.

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.



Assessment of facts and circumstances
Country of origin information
Credibility assessment