Human Rights Comm ittee
Communication No. 2523/2015
Decision under the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted by the Committee at its 113th session (16 March–2 April 2015)
Submitted by:X (represented by counsel, Cecilia Vejby Andersen from the Danish Refugee Council)
Alleged victim:The author
Date of communication:7 January 2015 (initial submission)
Date of decision:1 April 2015
Subject matter:Deportation to Greece
Procedural issue s : Level of substantiation of claims
Substantive issues: Risk of torture and ill-treatment
Article s of the Covenant: Article 7
Article s of the Optional Protocol:Article 2
Decision on admissibility *
1.1The author of the communication is Mr. X, a Syrian citizen of Kurdish origin born in 1977. He claims that his deportation to Greece would constitute a violation, by Denmark, of his rights under article 7 of the Covenant. The author is represented by counsel.
1.2On 9 January 2015, the Committee, acting through its Special Rapporteur on new communications and interim measures, decided not to issue a request for interim measures under rule 92 of the Committee’s rules of procedure, and determined that no observations from the State party were needed to ascertain the admissibility of the present communication.
The facts as presented by the author
2.1The author is from Maydanke, Afrin, Syrian Arab Republic and is of Kurdish ethnicity. In 2007, he went to Greece from the Syrian Arab Republic and applied for asylum. He was issued a residence permit. He states that he was registered as an asylum seeker, but that he is not sure whether he was granted international protection in Greece.The author resided in Greece from 2007 to 2010. In 2010, he returned to the Syrian Arab Republic.
2.2In February 2014, the author left the Syrian Arab Republic and, having travelled through Turkey, returned to Greece. He stayed with friends and other people of Kurdish ethnicity, and occasionally in the Lavrio refugee camp with friends, not far from Athens. In Greece, the author paid 1,000 euros to an intermediary who assisted him in getting a residence permit faster.The author explains that with this permit, he travelled to Denmark to visit friends. He travelled through Norway on 14 August 2014, and was apprehended at the Norwegian international airport. He was transferred back to Greece on 15 August 2014, after having failed to explain the purpose for his arrival in Norway.
2.3On 18 or 19 August 2014, the author was assaulted in Athens by eight or nine men affiliated with the Greek right-wing party Golden Dawn. He was beaten severely by the men, who shouted xenophobic phrases, such as “you foreigners have ruined our country” and “everything is your fault”. The men tore his residence permit. They took pictures of him, and stated that next time they would kill him. The next morning, he went to the Attica police station in Athens to report the assault and the death threats. However, the police filed no report and even though the author was severely bruised, he was told that he would get no assistance. Due to the threats to his life, the author stayed indoors until he fled Greece with the assistance of an agent, about one week after the assault.
2.4On 30 August 2014, the author arrived in Denmark and applied for asylum. As a reason for his request, he invoked the fact that he had been re-drafted for military service in the Syrian Arab Republic, and did not mention the fact that he had been issued a residence permit in Greece. His application was processed within the Dublin procedure after the State party’s authorities found prior registration of the author’s illegal entry into Norway. On an unspecified date, the Danish Immigration Service requested the Norwegian authorities to accept the author’s transfer under the Dublin Regulation. The Norwegian authorities refused to accept him, noting that the author had never applied for asylum in Norway and had a residence permit and refugee status in Greece.
2.5On 7 December 2014, the Danish Immigration Service refused to process the author’s request for asylum and refused to allow him to stay in Denmark, owing to his refugee status in Greece and given that he could return and reside legally there. The decision of the Immigration Service was appealed to the Immigration Appeals Board on 6 January 2015. This appeal does not have suspensive effect. The author’s deportation to Greece was scheduled for 9 January 2014.
3.1The author claims that his rights under article 7 of the Covenant will be violated by the State party in the event of his deportation to Greece. He claims that he would risk being targeted by neo-Nazis there, due to his prior assault, during which his documents were confiscated and destroyed, his photo was taken and he received death threats. He fears that he would not be able to avail himself of the protection of the Greek authorities.
3.2The author also claims that his deportation would expose him to substandard living conditions, lack of social assistance from the authorities and no prospect of finding a durable humanitarian solution, thus subjecting him to inhuman and degrading treatment, contrary to article 7 of the Covenant.
Issues and proceedings before the Committee
4.1Before considering any claim contained in a communication, the Human Rights Committee must determine whether it is admissible under the Optional Protocol to the Covenant.
4.2As required under article 5 (2 (a)) of the Optional Protocol, the Committee has ascertained that the same matter is not being examined under another procedure of international investigation or settlement.
4.3The Committee observes that in his original asylum request before the State party’s authorities, the author invoked different grounds from those invoked before the Committee. In his asylum request, he claimed, for instance, that he feared a return to the Syrian Arab Republic, while the complaint before the Committee is based on his fear of return to Greece. The Committee also notes the author’s allegation of having been attacked by affiliates of an extremist party before leaving Greece and the fact that the State party was not informed of this assault by the author in his asylum application.
4.4The Committee further notes the author’s claim regarding the poor living conditions of individuals in similar situations in Greece and a lack of adequate assistance by the authorities. At the same time, however, the Committee observes that the author is not an asylum seeker, but was recognized as a refugee, with the right to work legally in Greece, and that he lived in Greece from 2007 to 2010, without reporting any violation of his rights; that, subsequently, he returned to the Syrian Arab Republic, where he lived for four more years; that within a period of seven months, he managed to travel from the Syrian Arab Republic to Greece, pay for a residence permit there and travel to Norway and Denmark by air; and that his complaint to the Committee is based on an isolated incident, committed by non-State actors. In the light of the above considerations, the Committee considers that the author’s claims under article 7 of the Covenant cannot be seen as having been sufficiently substantiated for the purposes of admissibility. Accordingly, the Committee concludes that the communication is inadmissible under article 2 of the Optional Protocol.
5.The Human Rights Committee therefore decides:
(a)That the communication is inadmissible under article 2 of the Optional Protocol;
(b)That this decision shall be transmitted to the State party and to the author.