Asylum : Ecj Specifies Rights in Cases of Persecution on Grounds of Religion

European Social Policy, September 19, 2012 | Go to article overview
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Asylum : Ecj Specifies Rights in Cases of Persecution on Grounds of Religion


Contrary to the German authorities, the EU Court of Justice considers that, where they are sufficiently serious, certain forms of interference with the public manifestation of religion may constitute persecution for reasons of religion and therefore constitute a sufficient reason to obtain asylum in the EU.

The cases are that of two Pakistani citizens, Y and Z, who are members of a religious minority - the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, which is an Islamic reformist movement. In its 5 September ruling (Cases C-71/11 and C-99/11), the ECJ recalls that the law in Pakistan on blasphemy provides that members of the Ahmadiyya religious community may face imprisonment of up to three years or a fine if they claim to be Muslim, describe their faith as Islam, preach or propagate or invite others to accept their faith.

Having left their country because of their religious beliefs, Y and Z currently live in Germany, where they applied for asylum. In particular, Y stated that on several occasions in his home village a group of people had stones thrown at him at his community's place of prayer and that, in addition, he had received death threats and had been reported to the police for insulting the Prophet Mohammed. Z claimed that he was mistreated and imprisoned as a result of his religious beliefs. However, the German authorities rejected Y and Z's applications for asylum, finding that the restrictions on the public practice of faith imposed on Ahmadis in Pakistan do not constitute persecution for the purposes of the right of asylum.

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