EGMR: Case against Sweden concerning failed asylum seeker facing expulsion

von Dr. Georg Neureither

In today’s Grand Chamber judgments in the case of W.H. v. Sweden (application no. 49341/10) concerning a failed asylum seeker facing expulsion the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that it was appropriate to strike her application out of its list of cases.

W.H., an Iraqi national, alleged that she would be at risk of ill-treatment in Iraq as a single woman of Mandaean denomination, a vulnerable ethnic/religious minority. The Court found in particular that since the applicant had been granted permanent residence permit in Sweden – essentially on account of the authorities’ concerns over the deterioration in the security situation in her home country combined with her personal circumstance as a single woman belonging to a religious minority – any potential violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights had now been removed and her case had thus been resolved at national level. Nor did the Court find any special circumstances regarding respect for human rights as defined in the European Convention and its Protocols which required it to continue examining her case.

Principal facts

The case concerned an asylum seeker’s threatened expulsion from Sweden to Iraq, where she alleged she would be at risk of ill-treatment as a single woman of Mandaean denomination, a vulnerable ethnic/religious minority.

The applicant, W.H., is an Iraqi national who was born in 1978 and currently lives in Sweden. She is originally from Baghdad and is of Mandaean denomination. She arrived in Sweden in August 2007 and subsequently claimed asylum. Her request was examined by the Migration Board and Migration Court which rejected it on the ground that she was not in need of protection in Sweden. The Migration Court of Appeal refused leave to appeal ...

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