National Developments

Belgium: Council of Aliens Law Litigation suspends Dublin Transfer to Spain

decision by the Belgian Council of Aliens Law Litigation (CALL) on 29 April 2015 suspended the decision to transfer a Guinean national to Spain.

The applicant had lodged an asylum application in Belgium which had been refused with an order to leave the territory on the basis that Spain, under Article 13.1 of Dublin IIIRegulation, was competent to deal with the asylum request. The applicant subsequently lodged a request with the CALL to suspend this transfer under the ‘extremely urgent procedure’.

The applicant spent a number of months in Spain in 2014, before arriving in Belgium. In Spain, he had his fingerprints taken, and claimed that he had been discouraged by a social worker from applying for asylum there. A little later, the applicant found himself without any aid in Madrid, living on the streets. With psychological damage emanating from the aftereffects of physical trauma sustained due to ill-treatment in his country of origin, medical records suggested that the applicant was a vulnerable person. The agreement to return the applicant to Spain contained no guarantee that the applicant’s vulnerability would be taken into account in the Spanish asylum system, with there being no specific procedure existent for the identification of vulnerable persons. Merely sending the applicant’s medical certificate to the Spanish authorities would not be sufficient to guarantee this.

Further, there was no guarantee that the individual would be able to introduce a new request for international protection in Spain. Whilst the CALL noted that there were no systemic deficiencies in the Spanish asylum system, the aforementioned lack of guarantees meant that the applicant could be at risk of ill-treatment, and thus the return decision to Spain was suspended.

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