The Netherlands: UNRWA unable to provide protection and assistance to Palestinian refugees in Gaza

Monday, August 24, 2020

On 24 August 2020, a Tribunal in The Hague annulled the refusal of the Dutch State Secretary of Justice and Security to issue a residence permit to a stateless individual coming from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). 

The stateless claimant argued that the general situation in Gaza is so dire that it had left him and his family without the prospect of a normal life and, in the case of a return, would expose him to a personal situation of serious insecurity. On the contrary, the State Secretary considered that the claimant fell under the exclusion basis of Article 1D of the Refugee Convention, because he registered with and received assistance from UNRWA, and because he could return to UNRWA’s mandate area to seek its assistance.

Referring to the CJEU case law in BolbolEl Kott and Alheto on Article 12(1)(a) of the Qualifications Directive (Directive 2011/95/EU), which incorporates Article 1D of the Refugee Convention into EU law, and a wide variety of other sources, the Tribunal concluded that the plaintiff made it plausible that he was in a personal situation of serious insecurity and that it was impossible for UNRWA to provide him with living conditions in Gaza consistent with its mandate. More specifically, it concluded, inter alia, that UNRWA is unable to provide Gaza citizens with their daily necessities. UNRWA is neither mandated or equipped to protect the citizens of Gaza against war violence; there are serious shortages of doctors, hospitals, medical equipment and medicines in the care sector and Gaza is unable to act adequately in the case of large-scale virus outbreaks such as the coronavirus.

The Tribunal therefore concluded that the State Secretary wrongly rejected the claimant's application for asylum as unfounded, that the contested decision was unsubstantiated and carelessly prepared and ordered the State Secretary to take a new decision in according with this judgment.

Based on an unofficial translation by the EWLU team. Photo: Edwin van Buuringen, April 2015, Flickr (CC)

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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