The applicant, a stateless person from Kuwait, filled an application to be granted refugee status in Romania, and, alternatively, any form of protection. The competent authority, the General Inspectorate for Immigration, Asylum and Immigration Department, rejected the request. The applicant challenged this decision in court, but the court confirmed the rejection of his application, considering that the applicant did not meet the criteria provided by Romanian law in order to be granted with refugee status or any other form of subsidiary protection in Romania.
- Law 122/2006 regarding asylum in Romania
- Convention for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms Protection
The claimant is an Muslim stateless person born in Kuwait. He claims that his family is part of an Alarizi clan in Kuwait, being treated worse than animals and not being entitled to identity documents. For this reason, his family left Kuwait and moved to Iraq, where they are now settled. They are also stateless persons. The applicant claims that he has never been in trouble with the authorities or other persons, does not belong to a political party, has not been politically active, has not been in trouble because of his religion, has not been detained, arrested, tried or convicted.
Since he left his country of origin, Kuwait, the applicant moved to several countries, crossing the border illegally, as he has no identity documents. He did not request asylum in any of this countries. In Romania, he requested protection only when the Romanian authorities discovered that he was staying irregularly in the country.
The competent authority, the General Inspectorate for Immigration, Asylum and Immigration Department, rejected his request. The applicant challenged this decision in court.
The applicant requests the court to declare null and void the decision of the defendant, but his argument is not very substantiated. In essence, he claimed that due to the fact that he was born in Kuwait and his family was part of the Alarizi clan, he was not entitled to identity documents and they were treated worst than animals. As a result, he could not be enrolled in school and his family was forced to live Kuwait. This situation entitles him to receive refugee status in Romania.
The applicant argues that the decision whose annulment is requested is terse, purely formal, presenting in a general way legislative aspects and omitting to analyse in concrete terms the situation presented and which category of statelessness the applicant belongs to - de jure or de facto statelessness.
The General Inspectorate for Immigration, Asylum and Immigration Department, claims that the complaint is unfounded, as the applicant does not meet the criteria provided in Article 23 of Law No 122/2006 on asylum in Romania. Refugee status may be granted, when requested, to a foreign national who has a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or public opinion and, because of this, is outside his country of origin and is unable to receive or, because of that fear, does not wish to receive the protection of that country. Refugee status may be granted to a stateless person who is outside the country in which he had his residence for the same reasons and cannot or does not wish to return because of this fear of putting his life in danger.
The defendant sustains that since the applicant left Iraq three months ago and travelled through countries such as Turkey, Greece, Albania, Serbia and Romania, he had the opportunity to apply for asylum in one of these countries. Therefore, the applicant is only looking for a way to stay on the Romanian territory and based on his arguments, he does not seem to be in a position which exposes him to life-threatening conditions or prevents him from living in his country of origin.
The Court of Giurgiu considered that the decision by which the applicant's request was refused is lawful and valid.
The Court analyses Articles 23 (refugee status) and Article 26 (subsidiary protection) of Law No 122/2006 on asylum in Romania, as follows: Subsidiary protection may be granted to a foreign national or stateless person who does not meet the conditions for refugee status and there are reasonable grounds to believe that, in the event of return to the country of origin, he or she will be at serious risk and who cannot or, because of this risk, does not want the protection of that country.
By risk, it is understood:
1. a sentence of death or the execution of such a sentence;
2. torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
3. a serious, individual threat to life or integrity, as a result of widespread violence in situations of internal or international armed conflict, if the applicant is part of the civilian population.
The court considers that the motives why the applicant left Kuwait and Iraq do not reveal any reason for persecution and he instead left the country for economic reasons. The applicant finally admitted that some of the members of the clan Alarizi received Kuwait's citizenship and identity documents.
"In view of all these elements, the court also notes that the applicant did not suffer any form of discrimination or persecution in his native country, and had no problems with the authorities in Kuwait or Iraq on these grounds. In addition, the applicant stated that his family members had not encountered such situations either. It should be noted that he did not actually request protection from his home State.
The reasons for which he requested to be granted with a form of protection by the Romanian State are not represented by events falling within the provisions of Article 23 of Law no. 122/2006. In addition, it cannot be ignored that the applicant applied for a form of protection in Romania only as a result of being caught by the authorities of this State and, although crossing the territory of other safe States, he did not requested asylum in these countries." Therefore, he did not feel his life was in danger.
"With respect to subsidiary protection, analysing the complaint in the light of the provisions of Article 26 of Law no. 122/2006, the court considers that the conditions are not met.
In this regard, the court notes that the applicant did not show that he has committed acts for which the law of his native country provides for the death penalty, nor is there any plausible reason to consider the fact that, if he returned to his native country, he would be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment. Regarding the third paragraph of Article 26, it is inapplicable in the case of the applicant, as there is no serious individual threat to life or integrity as a result of widespread violence in situations of internal or international armed conflict."
"The notion of well-founded fear comprises a subjective element, corresponding to the feelings of the person in question and an objective element, related to the objective situation on which this fear is based.
Persecution means an action that is sufficiently serious in itself or in its repetition to constitute a serious violation of fundamental human rights, especially rights from which no derogation can be made in accordance with Article 15 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms or which constitutes a set of various measures, including violations of human rights, which are sufficiently serious to affect a person to the same extent."
The court rejected the applicant's request to declare the decision denying him refugee status or any form of subsidiary protection in Romania null and void. As a result, he probably did not have a legal right to remain on the Romanian territory anymore.