Netherlands: Asylum authorities failed to take into account best interests of the child when considering internal protection alternative

Monday, May 1, 2017

On 1 May 2017, the Dutch Court of Appeal in The Hague decided to grant an appeal to an unaccompanied minor from Iraq, largely relying on the principle of best interests of the child.
The 16-year old Kurdish child of Yezidi ethnicity had been refused asylum in the Netherlands on 29 September 2016 on the grounds that a fragment of his story lacked credibility and that he could return to the Kurdish Autonomous Region (KAR) since his parents still live there. This decision was appealed based, inter alia, on the unsafe and unstable situation in the KAR and that he would not be allowed to enter the KAR without a passport.
The Court stated that according to applicable national guidelines, Yezidi are a vulnerable minority in Iraq and there is no internal protection alternative for minors without family nor for people belonging to a vulnerable minority. It ruled that the decision-makers had not meticulously motivated why this should not be the case for the applicant, especially since the best interest of the child had to be taken into account. Specifically, it ruled that Dutch authorities had not inquired about the availability of sufficient food, clothing, medical care and access to education (elements to be taken into account when considering the best interest of the child and when basing the rejection on the availability of an internal flight alternative). The authorities also did not prove that the child would be allowed in the KAR without a passport.
These articles are based on an unofficial translation by the ELENA Weekly Legal Update. We would like to thank Ruben Fierens, AIDA Legal Officer, for his collaboration.  


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.



Best interest of the child
Internal protection
Material reception conditions
Unaccompanied minor