European Court of Human Rights split on returning disabled man to Afghanistan

Monday 25 February 2013

Mark Symes has acted for the Applicant in SHH v United Kingdom 60367/10 - HEJUD [2013] ECHR 102 (29 January 2013), in which the European Court of Human Rights split 4:3, the majority finding that it would not contravene the right to be free from inhuman and degrading treatment of a young disabled man to return him to Afghanistan.

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The case raises several important questions, including the investigative duty of a State regarding medical evidence, the burden of proof as to the availability of support in the country of origin, the approach to be taken to the return of disabled asylum seekers (the ECtHR emphasised that the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has to be read as informing the scope to be given to Article 3), and the circumstances in which the high threshold set out in N v United Kingdom should operate to prevent the return of an asylum seeker to a humanitarian crisis arising out of internal armed conflict.

Read the full judgment here

Mark Symes is a member of the Immigration - Asylum and Human Rights Team.

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