The Netherlands – The Hague Court rules in a case of a Ukrainian national of Roma background

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

On 10 October, The Hague Court in the Netherlands ruled on a case concerning the safety of a Roma applicant in Ukraine.

The case concerned a Roma woman of Ukrainian nationality, claiming that she was facing difficulties in Ukraine due to her ethnicity. However, according to the list of safe countries in the Netherlands, Ukraine is considered a safe country of origin. Moreover, a 2018 reassessment by the State Secretary for Justice and Security did not include any change in policy and practice with regard to the Roma population in Ukraine, leading to the applicant’s request being rejected as manifestly unfounded.

After examining evidence put forward by both parties, the Court concluded that although the Ukrainian government has adopted a seven-year action plan to protect and integrate Roma, this has not yet led to significant improvements for this population, including reports of targeted violence. The Court also addressed various reports made by international organisations on Ukrainian police’s handling of incidents of violence, to conclude that there is no real change in the attitude of the Ukrainian authorities, even if police officials publicly condemn such attacks.

Consequently, in the opinion of the Court, it did not appear that the State Secretary included recent information about the position of Roma in Ukraine in the period up until June 2018. Moreover, the authorities did not give sufficient reasons as to why Roma were not considered as a vulnerable group, despite Ukraine being deemed a safe country of origin. Such a specification would have introduced necessary considerations in the assessment of Roma claims, as is done for LGBT-related cases.

Consequently, the Court found the appeal to be well-founded as the contested decision not to exempt Roma as a group coming from a listed safe country was not based on sound justification.

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