CEAS Update: ECJ rules that asylum seekers cannot be removed to Greece under the Dublin regulation.

January 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

In January 2011 the European Court of Human Rights declared that asylum seekers were at risk of being subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment if deported back to Greece. On 21/12/2011 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that member states cannot deport asylum seekers back to another EU country if they have “substantial grounds for believing that the asylum seeker would face a real risk of being subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment”. On this basis they declared that the UK could not deport asylum seekers to Greece under the Dublin regulation.

For more information on the case see the report by the Guardian.

The ECJ ruling puts the functioning of the Dublin regulation in the spotlight: its introduction has meant that Italy and Greece, predominant gateways to Europe for North African countries, have had to take responsibility for any asylum seekers that travel through their borders. Both countries have declared the regulation an unfair burden to carry given the current economic instability of the countries, which has also meant that there is little welfare support for asylum applicants.

The UK government has taken an unsurprising ‘islander’ approach, claiming that the UK should be able to deport asylum seekers to any EU country under the Dublin regulation. Although reform of the regulation is needed, the UK has vehemently resisted agreement to any reforms. As discussed in my previous blogs, very few asylum applicants are sent back to the UK under the Dublin regulation but the UK utilises it to return large numbers of applicants to other EU countries, leading to obvious conclusions about why the government are so keen to keep it.

For further discussion, listen to a short BBC Radio 4 debate on the subject.

– Katie Bales

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