European Court ruling prevents transfer of asylum seekers to unsafe statesgreece_detention
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Belgium and Greece have each violated the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR).

According to the ruling in the case of MSS versus Belgium and Greece, the asylum seeker (MSS) should not have been transferred back to Greece. The case concerns an Afghan national who entered the EU via Greece, and then applied for asylum in Belgium.  MSS was transferred back to Greece under the Dublin Regulation; this regulation determines the state responsible for examining an asylum application by an individual who has entered more than one of the participating states (EU, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland).

The state in which the asylum seeker first arrives is normally considered responsible for his or her application. However, this judgment limits how the regulation can be applied.

The Court ruled that Belgium was in violation of Article 3 for having exposed the applicant to: risks linked to deficiencies in the Greek asylum procedure, and poor detention and living conditions. Furthermore, the lack of an effective remedy against the Dublin transfer order was considered by the court to be a violation of Article 13.

"This judgement is very important because it will prohibit EU member states from transferring asylum seekers to countries with known deficiencies in their asylum standards, and poor detention and living conditions. Greece is in violation today, but in the near future Italy might be in the spotlight", said JRS Europe Advocacy Officer, Philip Amaral, adding that JRS Belgium staff had visited MSS in 2009 while he was detained in the country.

"Consequently EU states will have to apply the available exceptions in the Dublin Regulation to prevent the transfer of asylum seekers to unsafe states like Greece. The judgement is also significant because EU states must now seriously consider granting applicants an opportunity to contest their transfer through the courts – something which doesn't exist in much of the European Union, such as in Germany", added Mr Amaral.   Source:  Jesuit Refugee Service