The Supreme Administrative Court changed decisions concerning asylum seekers’ deportations: Individual circumstances must be taken into consideration

The decisions are significant as they will guide the application of the law from now on. 

Translation of article in Finnish by Tiina Salumäki http://yle.fi/uutiset/3-9596855 
5 May 2017 at 13:15, updated 5 May 2017 at 13:17

Kuva: Seppo Samuli / Lehtikuva

Caption: Demonstration against the deportation of asylum seekers at Helsinki-Vantaa airport on 3 April.

The Supreme Administrative Court has reviewed granting international protection for asylum seekers from Afghanistan. The Supreme Administrative Court issued decisions on four cases, two of which discussed the security situation in Afghanistan and two involved families’ ability to relocate internally, i.e. to live somewhere else than in their home area.
The decisions are yearbook decisions that will now guide the application of the law in similar cases. The Supreme Administrative Court decided in favour of the asylum seekers in two cases out of four. In addition to the security situation in Afghanistan, the asylum seekers’ individual circumstances also had an impact on the decisions. The conflict in Afghanistan is characterised by great geographical and temporal variation in the security situation.
The Supreme Administrative Court considered that, in some cases, the poor security situation in Afghanistan as such is sufficient to prevent the deportation of an asylum seeker to their home area. If this is not the case, the matter must be assessed, also taking into consideration the asylum seeker’s individual circumstances.
In the first case, the Supreme Administrative Court decided applicants were not to be deported to their home area, considering the security situation in their home area and their individual circumstances. In another case, there was no obstacle to deportation. In this case, the question was whether the person could travel safely from Kabul to their home area.

No support network

In the remaining two cases, the Finnish Immigration Service had considered the asylum seekers could not be deported to their home area in Afghanistan. However, international protection had not been granted as the applicants were considered to be able to relocate internally in Afghanistan.
The Supreme Administrative Court approved the appeal of one of the families and considered internal relocation unreasonable. Thus, the family must be granted international protection in Finland. The Supreme Administrative Court emphasised that, except for the man’s childhood, the family had lived their entire life in Iran. The family had no relatives or other support network in Kabul or anywhere else in Afghanistan, either. The woman’s close relatives already lived legally in Finland, which also influenced the decision.
The Supreme Administrative Court rejected the appeal of the other family. The family had already lived in Afghanistan before coming to Finland and they also had contacts to Kabul, and this was also considered the decision.

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