View Adopted: 2022.03.25
The authors of the communication are nationals of Iraq, submitting the communication on their own behalf and on behalf of their children. They fled Iraq in 2016 because they feared persecution and entered Bulgaria. Upon entry, they claim that they were beaten and given unsuitable accommodation. Consequently, they departed Bulgaria and applied for asylum in Austria, which was denied. The authors claim that their deportation to Bulgaria would expose them to a real risk of treatment contrary to article 7 of the Covenant (torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment). They referred to a country report highlighting the UNHCR’s concerns regarding poor conditions in Bulgaria, including among others overcrowding, abusive and violent treatment, lack of information on the asylum procedure. They claim that the State party violated their and their children’s rights under article 7 read alone and in conjunction with article 2(3) (right to an effective remedy) of the Covenant.
The State party submitted that the communication should be found inadmissible for failure to exhaust domestic remedies and lack of sufficient substantiation of the authors’ claims, and noted that a general suspension of transfers to Bulgaria was no longer justified according to the UNHCR. The Committee recalled its jurisprudence that the authors of the communication must exercise due diligence in the pursuit of available remedies. However, in the present case, as the authors had appealed to several courts, the Committee held that it was not precluded from considering the communication. Still, it noted that the authors had not substantiated their claims about the risk of ill-treatment, and that they provided contradictory information as to the domestic proceedings. Noting further that the UNHCR had lifted its recommendation not to remove asylum-seekers to Bulgaria, the Committee considered the authors’ claims under article 7 insufficiently substantiated, and as a result, concluded that the communication was inadmissible.
By: Smrithi Ramakrishnan