The European Court of Human Rights’ ruling concerning the matter of returning asylum seekers to Italy

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) deemed on 27 May 2021 the complaint made against Finland to be manifestly ill-founded and decided to not investigate it.

The case concerned a family that authorities had, under the Dublin III regulation, decided to return to Italy. The applicants  had applied for international protection in Finland in 2018. The Finnish Immigration Service did not investigate the applicants’ asylum application as they deemed Italy to be responsible for processing their asylum application. The family were not granted residence permits in Finland. The Administrative Court rejected the applicants’ complaint. The Supreme Administrative Court did not grant leave to appeal. 

In their complaint submitted to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the applicants stated that the decision to return them to Italy infringed Article 3 (prohibition of torture) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), because, according to the applicants, in Italy the family’s children would not be provided with adequate reception conditions or necessary healthcare. According to the applicants, there was also a serious risk of refoulement from Italy to their native country of Libya. Concerning the matter, the ECtHR issued an interim measure, according to which returning the appellants to Italy should be suspended for the time being.

In its decision, the ECtHR deemed the complaint to be manifestly ill-founded and declared it inadmissible. The ECtHR considered the changes made to the Italian reception system in 2020 in its decision. The ECtHR was convinced that the Finnish authorities would duly inform the Italian authorities of the applicants’ transfer, so that the Italian authorities could take into account the ages of the family’s children and ensure that the family stayed together. According to the ECtHR, the applicants had not demonstrated that the  decision to return them to Italy would cause a sufficiently real and immediate risk of hardship severe enough to be covered in Article 3 of the ECHR.

The decision is available on the ECtHR’s website(layout.types.url.description)

Further information: Finland’s  Government agent before the European Court of Human Rights, Director Krista Oinonen, Unit for Human Rights Courts and Conventions, tel. +358 (0)295 351 172.