QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
London WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
|THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF ZEGO||Claimant|
|SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT||Defendant|
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Mr A Payne (instructed by the Treasury Solicitor) appeared on behalf of the Defendant
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"Subject: Reconsideration request according to Article 5.2 of the Commission Regulation (EC) No 15603/2003 of 02-09-2003 regarding the third country national named below . . . [and the claimant's details are then given]
Our Service hereby informs you that your request for reconsideration has been granted according to Article 10.1 of the Dublin Regulation (without prejudice to the 'cessation provisions'). More specifically, the above mentioned alien is registered by our Authorities in the Eurodac Database as Category 2 ('Alien who is apprehended by the competent control authorities in connection with the irregular crossing of land, sea or air of the border of that member state having come from a third country and who is not turned back.').
Regarding the transfer to Athens International Airport, we kindly require to be precisely informed 5 working days in advance. Hence, please send us a copy of the transfer details and the laissez-passer to the fax number [which is then given]. Furthermore, simultaneously to the transfer, please send us by air carrier the passport and/or any other document the applicant might possess. Please note that this person will be able to submit an asylum application upon the arrival to our country, if he/she wishes to do so."
"Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants et cetera) Act 2004.
Certification of Asylum Application on Third Country Grounds.
You have applied for asylum in the United Kingdom on the grounds that you have a well-founded fear of persecution in Eritrea for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.
However, Eritrea is not the only country to which you can be removed. Under the provisions of the Council Regulation (EC) No 343/2003 of 18th February 2003 the authorities in Greece have accepted that Greece is the state responsible for examining your application for asylum. By virtue of Schedule 3, Part 2, paragraph 3(2) of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants et cetera) Act 2004 Greece shall be treated as a place --
(a) where your life and liberty will not be threatened by reason of your race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion; and
(b) a place from which you will not be sent to another State in contravention of your Convention rights; and
(c) from where you will not be sent to another State otherwise than in accordance with the Refugee Convention.
You are, under paragraph 8(1)(c) of Schedule 2 of the Immigration Act 1971, returnable to Greece.
The Secretary of State will normally decline to examine the asylum application substantively if there is a safe third country to which the applicant can be sent. There are no grounds for departing from this practice in your case . . . "
I will refer in this judgment to the statutory provisions relied on by the defendant (that is to say paragraph 3 of Schedule 3 to the 2004 Act) as the "deeming provisions".
"(3) I had enquired with the Head of the Greek Dublin Unit about their procedures regarding asylum seekers who are returned to them, under the Dublin Regulation, and are considered to be 'take-charge' cases (that is, they had not previously claimed asylum in Greece but had been apprehended as illegal entrants there prior to entering the United Kingdom). I was informed that upon their arrival in Greece they are not automatically placed into the asylum system but are given every opportunity to claim asylum. In this event they are held in a Holding Centre on arrival, which is either based at the airport or a Reception Centre, for approximately a day while their asylum application is recorded, they are fingerprinted, the paperwork is produced, and they are supplied with a 'pink' card which allows them to work and gives them access to benefits such as health care. This means that they are entitled to work and access health care from their second day in Greece.
(4) If the returnee does not claim asylum upon arrival then they are placed into a Reception Centre for 2 to 3 days and then are released and informed they must leave Greece within a specified period.
I see no reason to disbelieve that evidence, and Mr Lee could suggest none beyond the general proposition that if there was evidence that some agents of the police, coastguard or border guards could not be trusted it was wrong to trust any agency of the Greek government. I do not accept that argument.
"I am also aware that the Greek authorities are not currently removing Eritreans and therefore they are entitled to remain in Greece until further notice."
That is encouraging, but it is not central to my decision.