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

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

134 | PRACTITIONERS

134 | PRACTITIONERS GUIDE No. 6In the case of M.S.S. v. Belgium and Greece, the Court held that a situationin which a State, through its inaction, leads an asylum-seekerto live in the street for several months, with no resources or accessto sanitary facilities and without means to provide for his or her essentialneeds, combined with a prolonged uncertainty on the outcomeof the asylum procedure, attains the level of inhuman or degradingtreatment. 413 It also held that a State expelling a person to a countrywhere he or she risks to be subject to this situation would breach itsobligations under the principle of non-refoulement. 414 In the case ofSufi and Elmi v. the United Kingdom, in assessing whether situationsof humanitarian crisis could reach the threshold of inhuman or degradingtreatment for the application of the principle non-refoulement, theCourt applied the M.S.S. test, “which requires it to have regard to anapplicant’s ability to cater for his most basic needs, such as food, hygieneand shelter, his vulnerability to ill-treatment and the prospect ofhis situation improving within a reasonable time-frame”. 415 The Courtdecided to apply this test because it was “clear that, while drought hascontributed to the humanitarian crisis, that crisis is predominantly dueto the direct and indirect actions of the parties to the conflict” 416 in thecountry of return. However, it also warned that, if “the dire humanitarianconditions in Somalia were solely or even predominantly attributableto poverty or to the State’s lack of resources to deal with a naturallyoccurring phenomenon, such as a drought”, the more stringest test“in N. v. the United Kingdom may well have been considered to be theappropriate one”. 417The Human Rights Committee found, in the case of X.H.L. v. theNetherlands, that, in respect of an unaccompanied minor, State authoritieshad breached the child’s rights to protection (Article 24 ICCPR)linked with the right not to be subject to cruel, inhuman or degradingtreatment (Article 7 ICCPR) because they had failed to take into consideration,before returning him to his country of origin, of the bestinterest of the child. “[W]ithout a thorough examination of the potentialtreatment that [he] may have been subjected to as a child with no identifiedrelatives and no confirmed registration”, 418 he would be impededfrom “prov[ing] his identity or access any social assistance services” 419in the country of origin.413 M.S.S. v. Belgium and Greece, ECtHR, op. cit., fn. 324, para. 263.414 Ibid., paras. 366–368.415 Sufi and Elmi v. the United Kingdom, ECtHR, op. cit., fn. 327, para. 283.416 Ibid., para. 282.417 Ibid..418 X.H.L. v. the Netherlands, CCPR, Communication No. 1564/2007, 22 July 2011, para. 10.3.419 Ibid., para. 10.2.

MIGRATION AND INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW | 135b) Enforced disappearancesThe principle of non-refoulement also applies when there is a risk of enforceddisappearance 420 since this practice in itself constitutes “a graveand flagrant violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms” 421and “an offence to human dignity”. 422c) Extra-judicial executions and the right to lifeExtrajudicial executions constitute a serious violation of the absolute andnon-derogable right to life to which the principle of non-refoulement applies,as has been clearly affirmed by the Human Rights Committee 423 andin the UN Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extralegal,Arbitrary and Summary Executions, 424 Article 5 of which states that“no one shall be involuntarily returned or extradited to a country wherethere are substantial grounds for believing that he or she may becomea victim of extra-legal, arbitrary or summary execution in that country”.d) Non-refoulement and the death penaltyUnder international human rights law, the transfer of a person to acountry where there is a risk of subjection to the death penalty mayentail violations of the right to life and/or the freedom from torture orcruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.The Human Rights Committee has found that “[f]or countries that haveabolished the death penalty, there is an obligation not to expose a personto the real risk of its application [. . .] if it may be reasonably anticipatedthat they will be sentenced to death, without ensuring thatthe death sentence would not be carried out”. 425 This obligation arisesirrespective of whether the expelling State has entered into internationaltreaties prohibiting the death penalty, but merely from the fact thatthe State has abolished the death penalty domestically. 426 However, the420 Article 16, International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance,adopted on 20 December 2006 (CPED); Article 8, UN Declaration on the Protectionof all Persons from Enforced Disappearance, adopted by the General Assembly of theUnited Nations in its resolution 47/133 of 18 December 1992, A/RES/47/133.421 Article 1, UN Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance.422 Ibid.423 Baboeram et al. v. Suriname, CCPR, Communications Nos. 146/1983 and 148–154/1983,Views of 4 April 1985; Naveed Akram Choudhary v. Canada, CCPR, op. cit., fn. 318,paras. 9.7–9.8; General Comment No. 6, The Rights to Life, CCPR, 30 April 1982, para. 3.424 See, ECOSOC Resolution No. 1989/65, Effective prevention and investigation of extra-legal,arbitrary and summary executions, 15 th Plenary meeting, 24 May 1989.425 Judge v. Canada, CCPR, Communication No. 829/1998, Views of 20 October 2003, para. 10.4;reconfirmed in Kwok Yin Fong v. Australia, CCPR, op. cit., fn. 347, para. 9.4.426 This decision constituted a change of jurisprudence of the Committee which had previously notfound this obligation to arise. See, Kindler v. Canada, CCPR, Communication No. 470/1991*,Views of 18 November 1993; Ng v. Canada, CCPR, Communication No. 469/1991*, Views of7 January 1994; A.R.J. v. Australia, CCPR, op. cit., fn. 322.

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    ISBN 978-92-9037-151-X

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