Indirect-Refoulement of J.W. to Somalia and the Admissibility of Canada as a Safe Third Country

J.W. is a Somali national seeking refuge in the Netherlands who faces a potential risk of chain refoulement from Canada to Somalia. A particularity of J.W.’s case is that Canada already once attempted to send him to Somalia, thereby ignoring the view of the UN Human Rights Committee on his case. This Committee found that J.W. may, due to his personal circumstances, face torture and inhuman, cruel or degrading treatment upon return to Somalia. J.W. complains before the European Court of Human Rights that his expulsion to Canada would (indirectly) lead to a violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This expert opinion deals with the issue whether Canada is a safe third country to return J.W. to. The expert opinion addresses the following three sub-aspects in the particular case, which the European Court will need to engage with in order to decide in the case pending before it:

  1. The current situation in Somalia and whether a return of J.W. to Somalia would constitute a violation of the non-refoulement obligation inherent in Article 3 ECHR;
  2. The guarantees that Canada needs to provide in order to be considered safe to return J.W. to; and
  3. Whether and if so, in how far the European Court of Human Rights could and should take the Human Rights Committee´s views into account in its present judgment.

Expert opinion Migration Law Clinic Canada as a safe third country Aug 2015

The ECtHR has communicated the case to the Dutch Government. You can find the questions of the ECtHR here.


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