The EU court made the ruling on Thursday in a case involving a Libyan family that had submitted an application for international protection in the Netherlands in 2018. In the request, the family had pointed to personal threats, but also cited humanitarian circumstances. Among other things, the family had no access to drinking water and electricity in Libya. There were also six minor children. Their request for protection was rejected, but the family appealed to the Den Bosch court with the help of lawyers.
The Dutch court then asked the European judges for clarification of the international rules. When assessing asylum, is only war violence a criterion for international protection or should other humanitarian circumstances also be taken into account? The court is clear about this: the individual situation and personal circumstances play a role in the decision for international protection. Any slight assessment of violence in the country of refuge should not dilute the overall situation of “real danger” for refugees.
The ruling of the EU court not only applies to this Libyan family, but is also binding for other cases involving war refugees in the Netherlands and all other EU countries.
According to Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland, “the court’s ruling underlines that the Netherlands has been too strict when it comes to war refugees.” The Netherlands is also pushing the limits of how strict it can be in other areas, such as policy on family reunification. This is the opinion of the organization, which attributes this to political pressure for a strict asylum policy. “How strict is strict enough?”, Refugee Council asks.