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Netherlands / Council of State / ECLI:NL:RVS:2018:1802

Third country national v. Secretary of State of Justice and Security

Policy area:
Justice, freedom and security
Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
Council of State
Decision date:

Key facts of the case:

This case is about an Iranian who sought asylum in the Netherlands. However, he will be sent back to Iran. He claims he will run serious risks there because he has a Christian tattoo on his hand. The Secretary of State and the court, too, are not convinced that he really is a converted Christian. The Secretary of State alleges that the man can hide his hand, use  make-up or have the tattoo removed. The Iranian says that he cannot hide his hand and that make-up does not suffice, and that it is contrary to the principle of physical integrity, laid down in Article 3 of the Charter, to demand that he has his tattoo removed. The court states that the Secretary of State did not go into this point suffiently, only saying that it is the alien’s own fault, and should therefore take a new decision, taking Article 3 of the Charter, among other things, into consideration in more detail. The Secretary of State should give a further interpretation of Article 3 of the Charter. 

Key legal question raised by the Court:

Has the Secretary of State sufficiently taken into account that it may be contrary to the right to physical integrity, laid down in Art. 3 of the Charter, to demand that someone has a tattoo removed from his hand, saying that it is this person’s own fault if it causes him to run risks in his home country? 

Outcome of the case:

The Council of State holds that the Secretary of State has not taken Art. 3 of the Charter sufficiently into account when he decided that the Iranian had to have a tattoo removed from his hand, because it was the man’s own fault that he is in a risky position now. The Iranian cannot be removed from the Netherlands without further reasons, based on Art. 3 of the Charter.