Ulkoministeriö / Utrikesministeriet

MFA: European Court of Human Rights gives judgment concerning Finland in the case of the return of an asylum seeker to Iraq

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On 14 November 2019, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) gave its judgment concerning Finland in the case of the return of an asylum seeker to Iraq.

The applicant’s father had sought international protection in Finland against returning him to Iraq in 2015. The Finnish Immigration Service had rejected his application for asylum and residence permit. The Administrative Court had dismissed the appeal lodged by the applicant's father, and the Supreme Administrative Court did not grant leave to appeal in the case. The applicant’s father had returned to Iraq voluntarily while his case was still pending before the Supreme Administrative Court. According to the information presented by the applicant, his father died in Iraq after returning there.

The applicant lodged an application with the European Court of Human Rights, in which she alleged that his father’s expulsion to Iraq constitutes a violation of Article 2 (right to life) and Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights. Furthermore, the applicant considered that the suffering caused to the applicant herself by her father’s expulsion and death constitutes a violation of Article 3 of the Convention.

The ECHR held that Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights had been violated in respect of the applicant’s father when processing his asylum application. In its judgment, the ECHR stated that it was not convinced that the quality of the assessment conducted by the Finnish authorities regarding the relevant facts and the risk to which the applicant’s father would be exposed upon removal to Iraq satisfied the requirements under Articles 2 and 3 of the Convention. Hence, the Court found that the domestic authorities and courts were aware, or ought to have been aware, of facts that indicated that the applicant’s father could be exposed to a danger to life or a risk of ill-treatment upon his return to Iraq.

The ECHR considered that the complaint in respect of the applicant herself was manifestly ill-founded and declared it inadmissible.

The ECHR orderedthe State to pay the applicant EUR 20,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 4,500 in respect of legal costs.

The judgment is available on the website of the ECHR.

Inquiries: Satu Sistonen, Legal Counsellor, Unit for Human Rights Courts and Conventions, tel. +358 295 351 789.

The email addresses of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs are in the format firstname.lastname@formin.fi.

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