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Sweden: Migration Court Stops Transfer of Asylum Seekers to Greece Despite Dublin II Regulation

(Sept. 10, 2010) It was reported on September 6, 2010, that the Migration Court (Migrationsdomstolen) in Malmö, Sweden, decided to stop the transfer of five asylum seekers to Greece, where the two women and their three children had first traveled before arriving in Sweden. The Court reached this decision despite provisions of the European Union's Dublin II Regulation to the effect that asylum applications should be processed in the EU Member State where the applicants first arrive and apply for asylum. (Greece 'Unfit' for Asylum Reviews: Swedish Court, THE LOCAL (Sept. 6, 2010),; Council Regulation (EC) No 343/2003 of 18 February 2003 Establishing the Criteria and Mechanisms for Determining the Member State Responsible for Examining an Asylum Application Lodged in One of the Member States by a Third-Country National, 2003 OFFICIAL JOURNAL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION (L 50) 1-10, available at

The Migration Court made the determination because it “found that 'the asylum process in Greece has such wide deficiencies' that there is a risk that the applicants would not receive a fair trial and that there is a 'considerable risk' that they would be forced to return to their home country 'despite the fact that the need for protection may exist.'” Although the Court took note of a 2008 ruling that would have permitted the transfer of the applicants to Greece, it contended that “Greek legislation has deteriorated since then. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has refused to participate in the new Greek asylum process.” (THE LOCAL, supra.) In 2009, only 1.2% of all asylum applications in Greece were approved on the first instance and only 2% in the second instance, the Court added, also stressing “that the UNHCR has shown that the refusals 'are standardised' and lack detailed legal reasoning … .” (Id.)

Given the abovementioned factors, the Court found that there were “strong humanitarian grounds” for the exception to the Dublin II Regulation and that the asylum procedure should be handled by Sweden. (Id.; see also JUDICIAL PROCEDURE IN ALIENS AND NATIONALITY CASES, Sveriges Domstolar [Courts of Sweden] website,
(last visited Sept. 8, 2010).)