Third party intervention European Court of Human Rights case S.S. v Sweden (Appl no 43654/18)

The case concerns a young Afghan woman, who applied for asylum in Sweden. The application was rejected. She complains that her return to Afghanistan would violate Art. 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

The ECtHR has communicated the case to the Swedish Government on 10 December 2018 and asked it the following questions:

1. In the light of the applicant’s claims, the documents which have been submitted and relevant country information on Afghanistan, would she face a risk of being subjected to treatment in breach of Article 3 of the Convention if the deportation order were enforced (see, inter aliaSaadi v. Italy [GC], no. 37201/06, § 124-133, ECHR 2008; F.G. v. Sweden [GC], no. 43611/11, §§ 111-118, 23 March 2016; J.K. and Others v. Sweden [GC], no. 59166/12, §§ 79-98, 23 August 2016; and A.M. v. the Netherlands, no. 29094/09, §§ 77-80 and 87, 5 July 2016)?

In particular, would she face a risk of being subjected to treatment in breach of Article 3 of the Convention on account of the situation in Afghanistan for women who lack the support of a male network and for women who are considered to have transgressed social or moral norms, taking into consideration, inter alia, the circumstances surrounding her marriage, including the fact that she allegedly never lived with her husband, her current views on remaining in the marriage, the period of time she has spent in Sweden and the practical availability of a male network that would be willing and able to support her upon return?

2. Would the applicant face a real risk of a flagrant violation of Article 9 if the deportation order were enforced (see, inter aliaZ. and T. v. the United Kingdom (dec.), no. 27034/05, 28 February 2006; and Razaghi v. Sweden (dec.), no. 64599/01, 11 March

In its third party intervention the Migration Law Clinic first addresses the combination of risk factors, which should be taken into account in the assessment of the risk of a violation of Article 3 ECHR in this case. Secondly, it examines when the forced return of an asylum applicant could amount to a violation of Article 9 ECHR.

The third party intervention has been submitted in July 2019. In December 2021, the ECtHR decided to strike the case out of the list because Sweden had suspended all expulsions to Afghanistan and the applicant was thus no longer at risk of expulsion.

The expert opinion can be read here: Final amicus ECHR version SS v Sweden