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Council of Europe
Country of Decision : Council of Europe
Court Name : CoE: European Court of Human Rights [ECHR]
Date of decision : 21/10/2014
Type : Judgment
ECLI : ECLI:CE:ECHR:2014:1021JUD001664309
Case Number/Citation/ Document Symbol : Application no. 16643/09

Sharifi and Others v Italy and Greece

ECHR: Court rules on the expulsion of Afghan and other countries migrants from Italy to Greece

According to the factsheet of september 2018 regarding Collective expulsions of aliens: This case concerned 32 Afghan nationals, two Sudanese nationals and one Eritrean national, who alleged, in particular that they had entered Italy illegally from Greece and been returned to that country immediately, with the fear of subsequent deportation to their respective countries of origin, where they faced the risk of death, torture or inhuman or degrading treatment. They also submitted, with regard to Italy, that they had been subjected to indiscriminate collective expulsion. The Court held that there had been a violation by Italy of Article 4 of Protocol No. 4 to the Convention concerning the four applicants who had maintained regular contact with their lawyer in the proceedings before the Court considering that the measures to which they had been subjected in the port of Ancona had amounted to collective and indiscriminate expulsions. It also held, concerning the four same applicants, that there had been a violation by Italy of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) combined with Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the Convention and Article 4 of Protocol No. 4 on account of the lack of access to the asylum procedure or to any other remedy in the port of Ancona. It further held that there had been a violation by Greece of Article 13 combined with Article 3 on account of the lack of access to the asylum procedure for them and the risk of deportation to Afghanistan, where they were likely to be subjected to ill-treatment, and a violation by Italy of Article 3, as the Italian authorities, by returning these applicants to Greece, had exposed them to the risks arising from the shortcomings in that country’s asylum procedure. In this case, the Court held, in particular, that it shared the concerns of several observers with regard to the automatic return, implemented by the Italian border authorities in the ports of the Adriatic Sea, of persons who, in the majority of cases, were handed over to ferry captains with a view to being removed to Greece, thus depriving them of any procedural and substantive rights. In addition, the Court reiterated that the “Dublin” system – which serves to determine which European Union Member State is responsible for examining an asylum application lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national – must be applied in a manner compatible with the Convention: no form of collective and indiscriminate returns could be justified by reference to that system, and it was for the State carrying out the return to ensure that the destination country offered sufficient guarantees in the application of its asylum policy to prevent the person concerned being removed to his country of origin without an assessment of the risks faced.

Access to procedures; Afghanistan; Border procedures; Dublin procedure; Non-refoulement; Return/Removal/Deportation;

Dublin Regulation III (Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for IP); European Convention on Human Rights;


Council of Europe, European Court of Human Rights [ECHR], Sharifi and Others v Italy and Greece, Application no. 16643/09, ECLI:CE:ECHR:2014:1021JUD001664309, 21 October 2014. Link redirects to the English summary in the EASO Case Law Database.