5 June 2015

On 4 June 2015, the human rights Court found, in a majority decision, that an Iraqi family would not be at risk of inhuman and degrading treatment at the hands of the al-Qaeda terrorists if returned to Iraq. Two of the judges disagreed with this finding.

The Court considered that although the general situation of violence in Iraq had significantly deteriorated since ISIS began its offensive against the government last year, it was not severe enough to prevent removal there. This was in spite of UNHCR’s position which urged States not to return people to Iraq until “tangible improvements in the security and human rights situation have occurred”.

Although the family had been the victim of a number of serious violent attacks by al-Qaeda due to their business activities with Americans, the Court found that they had not been targeted since 2008 when the business was ended. As a result, it agreed with the Swedish authorities that the family would be not at risk on return to Iraq and that if they were,  they could ask the Iraqi authorities for protection.

There are measures in place to prevent the family from being removed until the deadline for an appeal to the Grand Chamber of the court has passed.

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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 5 June 2015. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.