Magazine article European Social Policy

Asylum : Court Spells out Conditions for Loss of Refugee Status

Magazine article European Social Policy

Asylum : Court Spells out Conditions for Loss of Refugee Status

Article excerpt

A refugee in the EU may lose his refugee status when the "circumstances in the third country on which his fear of persecution was founded have ceased to exist" and "he has no other reason to fear being persecuted". Before acting, however, the authorities of the member state must provide certain guarantees. This is the gist of the judgement handed down by the EU Court of Justice, on 2 March, in several joined cases related to complaints by Iraqi nationals who had been granted refugee status in Germany but who lost this status in 2005 owing to the evolution of the situation in Iraq (C-175/08, C-176/08, C-178/08 and C-179/08).

The court's decision draws on Directive 2004/83/EC that determines the conditions to be met to qualify for refugee status in an EU country.

Salahadin Abdulla, Kamil Hasan, Ahmed Adem and his wife, Hamrin Mosa Rashi, and Dler Jamal are Iraqi nationals who had obtained refugee status in Germany in 2001-2002 but lost it owing to a "fundamental change in the situation in Iraq". The German judicial system found that the parties were now safe from the persecution suffered under the previous regime and that they were not under any significantly likely new threat on any other grounds.

The dispute was brought before the German administrative court, which sought an interpretation from the EU Court of Justice.


Although the 2004 directive does make provision for loss of refugee status, explained the court, before proceeding with such a decision the competent authorities of the EU country must first "verify that the actor or actors of protection of the third country have taken reasonable steps to prevent the persecution". …

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