Switzerland: Application for refugee status must be reconsidered in light of new evidence relating to applicant’s relatives

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

On 24 March 2020, the Federal Administrative Court published its judgment in case A. v State Secretariat for Migration (D-1003/2020). 

The applicant is a Sri Lankan national of Tamil ethnicity who was taken for questioning by Sri Lankan soldiers after interfering with political posters. He was ordered to present himself for checks every Sunday and alleges that he was beaten and sexually assaulted by soldiers, forcing him to flee the country. His application for refugee status in Switzerland was rejected and his expulsion was subsequently ordered. On appeal, the applicant submitted further evidence relating to positive asylum decisions of his relatives in Switzerland. The appeal was dismissed on the grounds that the new evidence did not constitute grounds for reconsideration of his asylum claim.

The Federal Administrative Court noted that during the original asylum proceedings, the applicant was unable to provide credible evidence to account for his flight from persecution in Sri Lanka. However, it added that it is the job of the asylum authorities to consult the asylum files of the applicant’s close relatives and to address any relevant statements. It found that the newly provided transcripts of interviews involving relatives of the applicant submitted by the applicant qualified as substantial changes due to the close connection between the asylum claims and concluded that the applicant’s asylum proceedings must be reassessed with reference to the newly presented evidence. 

Based on an unofficial translation by the EWLU team. Photo: dreamingyakker, January 2006, 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.

Assessment of facts and circumstances
Burden of proof
Credibility assessment
Individual assessment