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EU Court clarifies standard for Iraqi refugee status

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Basing their findings on a 2004 Council directive which sets out the conditions one must satisfy in order to qualify for refugee status, the European court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that Iraqi refugees who sought refuge from Sadam Hussien's Baath regime no longer qualify for refugee status, because of the significant change in circumstances in Iraq.

Basing their findings on a 2004 Council directive which sets out the conditions one must satisfy in order to qualify for refugee status, the ECJ held  that a person loses that status when, following a change of circumstances of a significant and non-temporary nature in the third country concerned, the circumstances which had justified the person’s fear of persecution no longer exist and he has no other reason to fear being persecuted.

The ECJ out that the change in circumstances has to be of a ‘significant and non-temporary’ nature when the factors which formed the basis of the refugee’s fear of persecution may be regarded as having been permanently eradicated. 

This tends to imply that there are no well-founded fears of being exposed to acts of persecution amounting to ‘severe violations of basic human rights’. 

Background

Aydin Salahadin Abdulla, Kamil Hasan, Ahmed Adem, his wife Hamrin Mosa Rashi and Dler Jamal, Iraqi nationals, were granted refugee status in Germany in 2001 and 2002. In support of their applications, they relied before the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees on a variety of reasons which made them fear being persecuted in Iraq by the regime of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party. In 2005, as a result of the changed circumstances in Iraq, their recognition as refugees was revoked.

European Court of Justice - Justice and Application - full text

 


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