29 October 2015

ECRE/ELENA have published an information note which provides background to the Tarakhel judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), which ECRE intervened in. In this judgment, the Court prevented the transfer of an asylum-seeking family from Switzerland to Italy under the Dublin Regulation, as there were no guarantees that they would be treated in a manner that respected their human rights, given the poor reception conditions there and their vulnerability. The ruling was particularly important as it called into question the viability of the Dublin system and its compatibility with fundamental human rights, as well as making it clear that it could not be presumed that other European States are safe for asylum seekers. In its aftermath many legal challenges have been mounted against Dublin transfers across Europe.

The information note discusses the case law prior to the judgment and then gives an in-depth analysis of the judgment itself. It goes on to examine how it has been interpreted by the European Courts, before focusing on interpretation and policy developments in selected states, highlighting good and bad practices.

The analysis argues that the ruling is relevant to all parties to the European Convention of Human Rights and should be sufficiently taken into account when assessing their human rights obligations under Article 3 in relation to the removal of asylum seekers to another state. They should also ensure that the special needs of this particularly vulnerable group are guaranteed prior to the transfer. This requires an individualised assessment that takes into account the personal circumstances of the applicant and the general situation in the state of proposed transfer.

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This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 30 October 2015. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.