Key facts of the case:
- These references for a preliminary ruling concern the interpretation of Articles 2(c) and 9(1)(a) of Council Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004 on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or Stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection and the content of the protection granted (OJ 2004 L 304, p. 12; addendum OJ 2005 L 204, p. 24) (‘the Directive’).
- The references have been made in proceedings between, on the one hand, the Federal Republic of Germany, represented by the Bundesministerium des Inneren (Federal Ministry of the Interior), in turn represented by the Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge (Federal Office for Migration and Refugees) (‘the Bundesamt’), and, on the other, Y and Z, Pakistani nationals, concerning the Bundesamt’s rejection of their applications for asylum and recognition of refugee status.
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
- Articles 9(1)(a) of Council Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004 on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or Stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection and the content of the protection granted must be interpreted as meaning that: – not all interference with the right to freedom of religion which infringes Article 10(1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union is capable of constituting an ‘act of persecution’ within the meaning of that provision of the Directive; – there may be an act of persecution as a result of interference with the external manifestation of that freedom, and – for the purpose of determining whether interference with the right to freedom of religion which infringes Article 10(1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union may constitute an ‘act of persecution’, the competent authorities must ascertain, in the light of the personal circumstances of the person concerned, whether that person, as a result of exercising that freedom in his country of origin, runs a genuine risk of, inter alia, being prosecuted or subject to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment by one of the actors referred to in Article 6 of Directive 2004/83.
- Article 2(c) of Directive 2004/83 must be interpreted as meaning that the applicant’s fear of being persecuted is well founded if, in the light of the applicant’s personal circumstances, the competent authorities consider that it may reasonably be thought that, upon his return to his country of origin, he will engage in religious practices which will expose him to a real risk of persecution. In assessing an application for refugee status on an individual basis, those authorities cannot reasonably expect the applicant to abstain from those religious practices.
Paragraphs referring to EU Charter:
49, 56-67, 79
Deciding body (original language):
European Court of Justice (Grand Chamber)