Switzerland: Federal Administrative Tribunal rules decision not to examine merits of asylum claim lacked sufficient examination of safe third country criteria

Thursday, February 8, 2018

On 8 February 2018, the Swiss Federal Administrative Tribunal ruled in case D-635/2018, which concerned a Turkish journalist of Kurdish ethnicity who lodged an application for international protection in Zurich after arriving from Brazil. She claimed that she had been arrested and convicted in Turkey due to her profession and alleged connection with a terrorist organisation. The State Secretariat for Migration decided not to examine the merits of her application for international protection on the basis that she could be sent back to Brazil, where she had stayed for some days.

On appeal, the Federal Administrative Tribunal ruled that, in view of the particular profile of the applicant, the national authorities had not carried out a sufficient examination of whether Brazil offered the applicant an effective protection against refoulement. It noted that reference to existing legislation alone is not enough to conclude that the applicant would be able to seek protection in a third country, that there was no assurance that she would not be sent back to Georgia, where she had briefly stayed, and that no consideration had been paid to the agreement between Turkey and Brazil under which Turkey can request information on individuals considered as terrorists. Moreover, it ruled that, as Brazil was not listed as a safe third country by the Federal Council, the national authorities were obliged to examine on a case by case basis whether the third country would offer sufficient protection against refoulement. In this case, the Federal Administrative Tribunal found that assessment to be insufficient. Therefore, it annulled the decision not to examine the merits of the application and referred the case back to the national authorities for a fresh decision.

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 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.



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