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Finland
Country of Decision : Finland
Court Name : FI: Supreme Administrative Court [Korkein hallinto-oikeus]
Date of decision : 07/09/2020
Type : Judgment
ECLI : ECLI:FI:KHO:2020:91
Case Number/Citation/ Document Symbol : KHO:2020:91

A. (Somalia) v Finnish Immigration Service

Somalia

FI: The Supreme Administrative Court ruled on special procedural guarantees for vulnerable applicant who was allegedly subjected to sexual violence by Al-Shabaab in Somalia.

The applicant is a Somali woman who applied for international protection in Finland. In an asylum interview, A invoked, among other things, the repeated sexual violence to which she had been subjected by Al-Shabaab. The interview was conducted by a male officer and a male interpreter from the Finnish Immigration Service.

The Finnish Immigration Service rejected the application for asylum and decided to return her to Somalia. The applicant appealed against the decision to the administrative court and stated, inter alia, that she had not been able to explain her asylum grounds comprehensively in the asylum procedure because both the interlocutor and the interpreter were men. The Administrative Court dismissed the appeal without providing an oral hearing.

The Supreme Administrative Court ruled that an official of the Finnish Immigration Service is obliged under Section 96a of the Aliens Act to take into account the individual status and circumstances of an asylum seeker by identifying an applicant in need of special procedural guarantees and providing him or her with support. The decisive factor in assessing the need for assistance is whether, without the assistance, the applicant would be able to exercise his or her rights and fulfill his or her obligations in the asylum procedure.

Given A's vulnerable position and the sensitivity of the asylum ground, she could not have been expected to be able to report the experiences in the asylum procedure in the presence of a male interpreter and a male speaker so that she could be considered to have benefited from her rights and fulfilled her obligations. In the asylum procedure, the Finnish Immigration Service should have provided A with the support needed by giving her the opportunity to have a same-sex speaker and interpreter.

The asylum procedure had not been appropriate for the reasons mentioned above. The Finnish Immigration Service had therefore also not been able to reliably assess the credibility of A's statements.

The Supreme Administrative Court annulled the decisions of the Finnish Immigration Service and the Administrative Court and referred the matter back to the Finnish Immigration Service for a new asylum interview.

Credibility; Gender based persecution; Vulnerable Group;

Revised Asylum Procedures Directive (Directive 2013/32/EU on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection) and/or APD 2005/85/CE;

EASO IDS

Finland, Supreme Administrative Court [Korkein hallinto-oikeus], A. (Somalia) v Finnish Immigration Service, KHO:2020:91, ECLI:FI:KHO:2020:91, 07 September 2020. Link redirects to the English summary in the EASO Case Law Database.

https://caselaw.easo.europa.eu/pages/viewcaselaw.aspx?CaseLawID=1178