28 March 2014

Despite finding that single women who are members of an ethnic or religious minority are at risk of ill-treatment in Southern and Central Iraq, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has ruled that Sweden’s return to Iraq of a divorced Mandaean woman  whose asylum application has been rejected would not violate her rights under Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights as the ECtHR considers that she can safely be returned to the Kurdistan region in Northern Iraq, rather than to her native Baghdad.

While noting reports that newcomers to the Kurdistan region, especially non-Kurdish speakers, face difficulties obtaining jobs and housing, the ECtHR approved the safety of relocation. According to the ECtHR’s evaluation of the evidence, general living conditions are acceptable, there is no risk of being removed to another part of Iraq, a number of Mandaeans have safely relocated already, border restrictions and sponsor requirements don’t apply, identity documents are easy to obtain, there is access to healthcare and financial support from local authorities and UNHCR, and there are direct flights to the region from Sweden.

This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 28 March 2014
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