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Universal-MigrationHRlaw-PG-no-6-Publications-PractitionersGuide-2014-eng

Universal-MigrationHRlaw-PG-no-6-Publications-PractitionersGuide-2014-eng

112 | PRACTITIONERS

112 | PRACTITIONERS GUIDE No. 6for exclusion from refugee status, which would not necessarily be in linewith the Geneva Refugee Convention.2. Non-refoulement in international human rights lawa) General principlesThe principle of non-refoulement is now well established in internationalhuman rights law, where it applies to all transfers of nationalsor non-nationals, including migrants, whatever their status, as well asrefugees. While only the Convention against Torture explicitly statesthe principle, it is implicit in the obligation of States to protect certainrights of people within their jurisdiction which will otherwise be violatedin another jurisdiction. 308 For the principle of non-refoulement to apply,the risk faced on return must be real, i.e. be a foreseeable consequenceof the transfer, and personal, i.e. it must concern the individual personclaiming the non-refoulement protection. 309To date, the principle of non-refoulement has been found by internationalcourts and tribunals to apply to risks of violations of the prohibitionof torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;of violations of the right to life; and of flagrant denial of justiceand of the right to liberty. It is also likely that the prohibition appliesto other serious violations of other human rights. The Human RightsCommittee has found that non-refoulement covers risk of human rightsviolations, including, but not limited to, violations of the right to life orthe prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatmentor punishment. 310 The European Court of Human Rights has heldthat non-refoulement protects “the fundamental values of democraticsocieties” 311 amongst which it has included the prohibition of tortureand other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the308 See, for example, Soering v. United Kingdom, ECtHR, op. cit., fn. 295, paras. 87 and 90.The European Court has derived the principle of non-refoulement from the obligation ofStates to “secure” human rights to all people subject to their jurisdiction (Article 1 ECHR).In particular, the Court considered the ECHR’s “special character as a treaty for the collectiveenforcement of human rights and fundamental freedoms”, the requirement that“that its provisions be interpreted and applied so as to make its safeguards practical andeffective”.309 CCPR, General Comment No. 31, op. cit., fn. 46, para. 12; Na v. United Kingdom, ECtHR,Application No. 25904/07, Judgment of 17 July 2008, paras. 109, 113; Saadi v. Italy, ECtHR,GC, Application No. 37201/06, Judgment of 28 February 2008, para. 125; Nnyanzi v. UnitedKingdom, ECtHR, Application No. 21878/06, Judgment of 8 April 2008, para. 51; Cruz Varasand Others v. Sweden, ECtHR, Plenary, Application No. 15576/89, Judgment of 20 March1991, para. 69; Chahal v. United Kingdom, ECtHR, op. cit., fn. 43, para. 74; Soering v. UnitedKingdom, ECtHR, op. cit., fn. 295, paras. 85–91.310 Ibid., para. 12.311 Saadi v. Italy, ECtHR, op. cit., fn. 309, para. 127; Chahal v. the United Kingdom, ECtHR,op. cit., fn. 43, para. 79.

MIGRATION AND INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW | 113right to life, 312 and fundamental aspects of the rights to a fair trial 313and to liberty. 314The jurisprudence on non-refoulement has been developed most thoroughlyin the context of refoulement to torture and to cruel, inhumanor degrading treatment or punishment. However, a number of generalprinciples can be identified, which apply to all non-refoulement cases,regardless of whether they involve risks of torture or CIDT. These areconsidered below.Box 9. Women as group at risk for non-refoulementpurposesThe European Court of Human Rights held in a recent casethat the expulsion of an Afghan woman to her native countrywould have violated the principle of non-refoulement ongrounds of ill-treatment. The Court found that “women are atparticular risk of ill-treatment in Afghanistan if perceived asnot conforming to the gender roles ascribed to them by society,tradition and even the legal system”. 315 The Court consideredthat even the fact of having lived for almost six yearsin Sweden, added to the fact that she had tried to divorce herhusband, would expose her to “various cumulative risks ofreprisals which fall under Article 3 of the Convention from herhusband X, his family, her own family and from the Afghansociety”. 316b) Source of the risk: acts of non-State actorsIn many cases, persons threatened with deportation may face risks ontheir return from non-State actors—including family members, criminals,business enterprises or armed groups—rather than from the State.It is widely accepted that the risk of serious human rights abuses doesnot necessarily have to come from State agents in order to trigger the312 Bader and Kanbor v. Sweden, ECtHR, Application No. 13284/04, Judgment of 8 November2005, para. 48 (finding that deportation of the applicant to face execution would violateArticle 2 ECHR as well as Article 3 ECHR).313 See, Othman (Abu Qatada) v. the United Kingdom, ECtHR, Application No. 8139/09, Judgmentof 17 January 2012; Al-Moayad v. Germany, ECtHR, Application No. 35865/03, AdmissibilityDecision, 20 February 2007, paras. 100–102.314 See, for example, Othman (Abu Qatada) v. the United Kingdom, ECtHR, op. cit., fn. 313;Z and T v. United Kingdom, ECtHR, Application No. 27034/05, Admissibility Decision, 28 February2006, The Law.315 N. v. Sweden, ECtHR, Application No. 23505/09, Judgment of 20 July 2010, para. 55.316 Ibid., para. 62.

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    ISBN 978-92-9037-151-X

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