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Thursday, 28 July 2011

Report: In six EU countries refugee protection "significantly divergent"

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Source: UNHCR

"Safe at Last? Law and Practice in Selected EU Member States with Respect to Asylum-Seekers Fleeing Indiscriminate Violence" examines the application in particular of Article 15(c) of the EU's Qualification Directive (QD), under which Member States are required to grant subsidiary protection to persons fleeing ''serious and individual threat to a civilian’s life or person by reason of indiscriminate violence in situations of internal or international armed conflict."

The research has focused on the practice of six EU Member States who received together 75% of EU asylum claims in 2010: Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK. The study looked in particular at the assessment of claims for protection by Afghans, Iraqis and Somalis.

The study found, among other things, that the approaches to application of Article 15(c) of the Qualification Directive are significantly divergent between the six Member States examined. In some cases, it would appear to be applied in such a narrow manner that protection is denied to many persons which Article 15(c) was originally intended to cover. In some States, it is applied to an extremely small percentage of people fleeing situations of violence and armed conflict overall.

In addition, it appeared that States are not granting refugee status under the 1951 Refugee Convention to some people fleeing indiscriminate violence who, in UNHCR's view, would be entitled to it. It is found moreover that the added value of Article 15(c ) QD compared to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is not clear; that approaches to assessing the level of violence required to trigger
application of the provision vary widely; and that the concept of a "real risk" is interpreted in a way that imposes a heavy burden on applicants to show they are exposed to individual risks.

Based on these findings, UNHCR puts forward nine recommendations to Member States and the EU in order to ensure that protection is granted to persons fleeing indiscriminate violence.

Safe at Last? Law and Practice in Selected EU Member States with Respect to Asylum-Seekers Fleeing Indiscri...

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