LONDON

- The British Home Office decided to reject an asylum application for a Syrian youth, under the pretext that it was safe for him to return to his country.

This position is the first - in Britain - to describe Syria as safe, and has alarmed thousands of Syrian asylum seekers in the country.

This "dangerous development", as described by the asylum seekers, opens the door to the rejection of their applications under the pretext that Syria is safe, and puts many question marks about the fate of thousands of files currently before the Asylum Service in the British Home Office.

Syrian refugees on October 4, 2013 in the French port of Calais, which serves as a departure point for ships bound for Britain (French)

What's the story?

This is a 25-year-old Syrian man who fled his country in 2017 and refused to participate in the forced conscription.

In 2020, he applied for asylum in Britain, because his return to Syria would mean his arrest and endanger his life.

The young man said in his asylum application that his escape from conscription in the Syrian regime forces was due to his refusal to get involved in the killing of his countrymen, and upon his return he will be tried on charges of evading military service, and he may be killed.

However, the British Home Office sent a letter at the end of last year telling him that his asylum application had been rejected;

A ministry employee said in the letter, "He is not convinced that the return of this young man may put his life at risk, and that fears of persecution are unjustified."

British Home Secretary Priti Patel speaks in Parliament about the drowning of migrants heading to Britain last November (French)

Why this decision?

The British Home Office is trying to increase the number of areas it considers safe, to reduce the number of refugees there. It did the same with Libya and put it on the “safe” white list. It is also doing the same with Iraq, and it rejects some asylum applications under the pretext that the country is not in a state of war.

However, the withdrawal of the matter from Syria made many fear the Danish scenario, as Denmark returned 1,200 Syrian refugees to their country, out of 35,000 refugees in the country.


Are the decisions of the Ministry of the Interior final?

An expert lawyer in immigration matters, Atef El-Marakby, says that all decisions of the British Home Office related to asylum can be challenged in the courts, and appealed.

In his speech to Al-Jazeera Net, the lawyer recommends that all asylum seekers should prepare their files well, before submitting them to the judiciary, to convince the court that their lives and basic rights are at risk.

What are the criteria for granting a person asylum?

Lawyer El Marakby says that any person who seeks asylum, even if he comes from the United States, has the right to obtain it if he proves that his political, economic or social rights are threatened in his country of residence.

Classifying a country as safe does not mean that refugees will not be accepted from it. The court considers whether the asylum seeker will suffer from any deprivation of his basic rights upon his return to his country.

Two Syrian children in a refugee camp in Europe (Reuters)

What documents strengthen the position of an asylum seeker?

Immigration laws expert Atef El-Marakbi identifies 3 types of documents: the first are human rights reports on the country concerned, the annual report of the High Commissioner for Refugees, then there are previous rulings related to the same issues, and finally any personal evidence of the asylum seeker showing that he is under threat, or data that proves that his life will be At risk upon return.

Are the decisions of the judiciary stronger than the Ministry of the Interior?

Yes, Britain applies the principle of "judicial precedent", which means that any decision issued by the British courts is considered the law on which the rest of the courts base their judgments, and because there are many precedents regarding the issue of Syrian refugees, most judges believe that returning to Syria is unsafe.

The decisions of the judiciary remain more important than the decisions of the Ministry of Interior, and any ruling issued by the courts would cancel the decisions issued by the Ministry of Interior, which in turn are obligated to implement the ruling.


What does the judge adopt before issuing his decision?

The judge relies on the documents submitted to him, on the lawyer’s pleading, and on previous judicial rulings in this matter. In the case of Syria, there are other factors that determine the possibility of a person being at risk, such as the nature of the region from which he comes, even if he belongs to a certain minority in Syria.

Do you have to worry about the recent decision of the Ministry of Interior?

No, according to lawyer Atef El-Marakbi, the judiciary has the last word, not the Ministry of the Interior, and even when the asylum application is rejected in the Migration Court, a person can resort to the Supreme Court and it will deal strictly with an issue that puts people's lives at risk.

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