IA v Asylum Service
EL: The Appeals Committee overturned a negative decision and granted refugee protection for an Afghan national
According to ELENA weekly update:
"The 10th Appeals Committee issued a decision overturning a decision of the Greek Asylum Service and recognising an Afghan asylum applicant as a refugee. The applicant, an Afghan national of Hazara ethnicity, applied for asylum in Greece in 2019. In his asylum application, he claimed that he left Afghanistan inter alia because he was not feeling safe due to the violence that prevails in the country, in combination with his ethnicity and religion (Shiite Muslim). He had not been a victim of a violent attack but he made a reference to a relative being killed during a protest. His fear was compounded by the absence of a supportive network in Afghanistan, as all his family resides in Iran. The asylum authority rejected the application as unfounded.
On appeal, the Committee examined the long-standing discrimination and violence that Hazara minorities have faced in Afghanistan. Referring to the UNHCR Guidelines, as well as EASO Country of Origin guidance and queries, the Committee noted that discrimination and risk of violence continue to affect the Hazara community in the country. Members of the Shiite Hazara community have been the target of several recent suicide attacks, while issues with access to the labour market have contributed to a general situation of marginalization.
The Committee also considered the recent developments in the country, including the increasing violence in 2020 and the barriers in accessing health services during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the volatile situation following the establishment of the Taliban regime, as described by UNHCR in August 2021, is characterised by significant security issues and gaps in human rights protection. In this context, members of religious minorities, in particular Shia Muslims and Hazaras, are in greater danger. Consequently, the applicant has a well-founded fear of persecution due to the danger he will be facing in a Taliban-ruled country. Moreover, as the Taliban authorities now control the country, any analysis on potential relocation is not necessary."
The Appeals Committee consulted the EASO COI Query 13 Hazaras, Shias, 29 July 2020.
Afghanistan; Assessment of Application; Asylum Procedures/Special Procedures; Country of Origin Information; COVID-19/Emergency measures; EASO COI Reports; EASO Other Materials; Refugee Protection;
ECRE Elena Weekly Update
Greece, Independent Appeal Committee, IA v Asylum Service, No 205849/2021, 26 August 2021. Link redirects to the English summary in the EASO Case Law Database.