ELENA Weekly Legal Update (EWLU)

24 March 2017


European Court of Human Rights European Union Council of Europe National Developments

European Court of Human Rights

Communicated case: C.A. and P.A. against Sweden (no. 75348/16), communicated on 2 March 2017

On 2 March 2017, the ECtHR communicated case C.A. and P.A. v. Sweden (no. 75348/16), which relates to a pending transfer under the Dublin III Regulation from Sweden to Italy of two Nigerian nationals (a mother and her underage daughter) who claimed being victims of human trafficking and prostitution in Italy. The applicants applied for asylum in Sweden on 20 December 2015. However, as the first applicant had been granted a Schengen visa by the Italian Embassy in Nigeria, Italy was requested to take responsibility over the application following the provisions of the Dublin III Regulation. The applicants appealed against this decision claiming that they had been the victims of human trafficking and forced prostitution in Italy before fleeing to Sweden. The Swedish authorities confirmed the decision to transfer the applicants in several instances and claimed that Italy is the country responsible for providing them with the necessary protection. The applicants complain under Articles 2, 3 and 4 that they face a real risk of being exposed to human trafficking, forced prostitution, ill-treatment and even death if transferred to Italy. They also complain that, since Sweden has not obtained individual guarantees from Italy, there is a real risk that their special needs would not be met.

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European Union

CJEU: C-652/16 Ahmedbekova - Request for a preliminary ruling from the Administrative Court of Sofia (Bulgaria),  lodged on 19 December 2016

The Bulgarian Administrative Court of Sofia has referred preliminary questions to the CJEU in case C-652/16 Ahmedbekova concerning the interpretation of Article 4 of the recast Qualification Directive (rQD) and the assessment of applications for international protection of family members, in cases where those applications are based on the same facts. More specifically, it is asked whether national case-law obliging the responsible authority to assess applications lodged by members of the same family in a joint procedure is permissible under Article 4 rQD.

Furthermore, the Administrative Court asks whether it follows from Article 10 of the Qualification Directive that the bringing of a complaint before the European Court of Human Rights against the State of origin of the applicant establishes their membership of a particular social group, or constitutes a political opinion. The CJEU is also asked whether Article 46(3) of the recast Procedures Directive obliges the national courts to examine the substance of new grounds for international protection which have been put forward in the course of the judicial proceedings but which were not relied on in the action brought against the decision refusing international protection.

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Council of Europe

CoE: Special Representative on Migration and Refugees issues Report on migrant and refugee children

The Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees (SRSG) published a Thematic Report on migrant and refugee children. The report, based on his fact-finding missions in 2016, calls for urgent measures to find alternatives to detention of children and guarantee minimum living conditions in camps, such as gender-separate sanitary facilities, better lighting and child-friendly spaces in order to eliminate risks of sexual abuse.

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CPT publishes factsheet on immigration detention

The CPT has carried out hundreds of visits to places of immigration detention, and has developed a detailed set of standards in its factsheet on immigration detention. In particular, the CPT’s standards concern a number of issues including detention as a last resort, and safeguards during detention; adequate material conditions for longer stays (over 24 hours); effective monitoring and complaints mechanisms; health care and care of vulnerable persons (in particular children).

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National Developments

UK defines the criteria to identify a ‘significant risk of absconding’

On 15 March 2017, the UK defined the criteria to identify a ‘significant risk of absconding’, by means of a statutory instrument. The instrument lays down several criteria to be taken into consideration when applying Article 28(2) of the Dublin III Regulation, such as: whether the applicant has previously absconded from another State, whether the applicant has previously withdrawn an application in another State, whether the applicant is ‘unlikely to return voluntarily’ to the responsible State, and the applicant’s ties with the UK. Before this instrument, the objective criteria was established in UK’s case law.

Notably, this definition entered into force on the same date as the CJEU published the decision in Al Chodor (Case C-528/15), in which the Court ruled that the objective criteria to define a ‘risk of absconding’ must be established in a binding provision of general application. The Court found the existence of settled case-law or consistent administrative practice not being sufficient.

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France: Annual overview of jurisprudence of the Council of State and of the National Court of Asylum (CNDA) on asylum for 2016

The National Court of Asylum (CNDA) has published its annual overview of jurisprudence of the Council of State and the CNDA on asylum for 2016. The overview contains summaries of the most notable decisions, such as decisions on procedures before the CNDA, safe countries of origin, family unity and exclusion.

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The purpose of the ELENA legal 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/ELENA. The contents of this publication can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission, UNHCR, or ECRE/ELENA and in no way purport to provide an exhaustive update on asylum law developments across Europe. For more up to date information, additions, corrections and comments please contact Julia Zelvenska (

Supported by the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Funding Programme of the European Union and UNHCR

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