Netherlands: Council of State suspends return to Greece on the basis of CJEU’s Ibrahim-case

Thursday, January 28, 2021

On 28 January 2021, the Dutch Council of State annulled the State Secretary’s decision to return a vulnerable Syrian national, who had obtained international protection in Greece, back to Greece.
The applicant lost his wife and daughter in Yemen. Even though Greece granted him international protection, the applicant also submitted a new application for international protection in the Netherlands. The medical advice of the Dutch Medical Advice Office (BMA) showed, inter alia, that the applicant suffered serious psychological problems and tried to commit suicide on two occasions. The BMA concluded that without treatment, the applicant would face a medical emergency in the short term and attempt suicide again. Nonetheless, the State Secretary declared his application for a temporary asylum residence permit inadmissible. 
Subsequently, the Court of the Hague confirmed this decision and concluded that the applicant had failed to demonstrate that his return to Greece would expose him to a situation contrary to Article 3 ECHR.
Before the Council of State, the applicant claimed that the Court and State Secretary had, erroneously, not identified him as a ‘particularly vulnerable person, and relied on the CJEU case of Ibrahim. He underlined that due to the limited access to Greek medical care and social services, he could end up, involuntarily, in a situation of extreme material poverty in Greece. The Council agreed that the applicant is ‘extremely vulnerable’ and, as he would be wholly dependent on State support, his vulnerability would reach the threshold set out in paragraphs 89-91 of the Ibrahim-judgment. More specifically, the Council underlined that it is hard for foreigners to find housing and generate an income and further referred to difficulties that the applicant might encounter in accessing medical and psychological care, even though he would need this care in the short term.    

In conclusion, the Council quashed the Court’s judgment, annulled the State Secretary’s decision and ordered him to adopt a new decision assessing why, after arriving in Greece, the applicant would not, because of his particular vulnerability, and for reasons beyond his own will and choices, end up in a state of extreme material poverty.
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.                               

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