- By its questions for a preliminary ruling, the arbeidshof te Brussel (Higher Labour Court, Brussels, Belgium) asks the Court to clarify the meaning of the provisions laid down in Article 20(4) of Directive 2013/33/EU, (2) in such a way as to determine whether and, if so, according to what procedures a Member State may exclude from material reception conditions an unaccompanied minor on the ground that he has committed a serious breach of the rules of the accommodation centre or has engaged in particularly violent behaviour.
- This reference for a preliminary ruling was made in the course of proceedings between Mr Zubair Haqbin, an unaccompanied minor of Afghan nationality, and the Federaal Agentschap voor de opvang van asielzoekers (Federal Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers, Belgium). (3) Owing to the seriousness of the violence committed by Mr Haqbin, Fedasil adopted a sanction in respect of him, entailing the temporary withdrawal from him of material reception conditions. That sanction meant not only exclusion from the reception centre but also from all related services.
- In line with the judgments of 27 September 2012, Cimade and GISTI, (4) and of 27 February 2014, Saciri and Others, (5) the Court is requested to clarify the rules governing the provision of support by the host Member State for an applicant for international protection (6) where the latter is an unaccompanied minor whose behaviour has put the staff and other residents of the reception centre in danger.
On those grounds, the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby rules:
Article 20(4) and (5) of Directive 2013/33/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection, read in the light of Article 1 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, must be interpreted as meaning that a Member State cannot, among the sanctions that may be imposed on an applicant for serious breaches of the rules of the accommodation centres as well as seriously violent behaviour, provide for a sanction consisting in the withdrawal, even temporary, of material reception conditions, within the meaning of Article 2(f) and (g) of the directive, relating to housing, food or clothing, in so far as it would have the effect of depriving the applicant of the possibility of meeting his or her most basic needs. The imposition of other sanctions under Article 20(4) of the directive must, under all circumstances, comply with the conditions laid down in Article 20(5) thereof, including those concerning the principle of proportionality and respect for human dignity. In the case of an unaccompanied minor, those sanctions must, in the light, inter alia, of Article 24 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, be determined by taking particular account of the best interests of the child.