The European Court of Human Rights will deliver in writing a Grand Chamber judgment in the case of W.H. v. Sweden (application no. 49341/10) on 8 April 2015 at 11.00 a.m. W.H. v. Sweden concerns an asylum seeker’s threatened expulsion from Sweden to Iraq, where she alleges she would be at risk of ill-treatment as a single woman of Mandaean denomination, a vulnerable ethnic/religious minority.
The applicant, W.H., is an Iraqi national who was born in 1978 and currently lives in Sweden. She is originally from Baghdad and is of Mandaean denomination. She arrived in Sweden in August 2007 and subsequently claimed asylum. Her request was examined by the Migration Board and Migration Court which rejected it on the ground that she was not in need of protection in Sweden. The Migration Court of Appeal refused leave to appeal. Subsequently, the Migration Board refused her request for reconsideration of her case on two occasions, the last on 25 August 2010. Her expulsion was, however, then suspended on the basis of an interim measure granted by the European Court of Human Rights under Rule 39 of its Rules of Court, which indicated to the Swedish Government that the applicant should not be expelled to Iraq whilst the Court was considering her case.
Relying on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights, W. H. alleges that, a divorcee belonging to a small, vulnerable ethnic/religious minority, she would be at real risk of inhuman and degrading treatment if returned to Iraq. She submits in particular that, without a male network or any remaining relatives in Iraq, she would be at risk of persecution, assault, rape, forced conversion to another religion and forced marriage.
W.H. lodged her application with the European Court of Human Rights on 27 August 2010.
In its Chamber judgment of 27 March 2014 in the case of W.H. v. Sweden the Court held, unanimously, that W.H.’s deportation to Iraq would not involve a violation of Article 3, provided that she was not returned to parts of the country situated outside the Kurdistan Region. The Court concluded that, although the applicant, as a Mandaean single woman, might face a real risk of being subjected to treatment contrary to Article 3 if returned to the southern and central parts of Iraq, she could reasonably relocate to the Kurdistan Region, where neither the general situation nor her personal circumstances would put her at risk of inhuman and degrading treatment.
The Court further decided to indicate to the Swedish Government, under Rule 39 (interim measures) of its Rules of Court, not to deport the applicants to Libya/Iraq until this Chamber judgment became final or until further order.
The applicant was granted permanent residence permits in Sweden on 15 October 2014.
Press release ECHR 104 (2015) 02/04/2015