With the seizure of power by the Taliban, the situation has clearly changed for many Afghans.
Many applicants from Afghanistan are in need of protection. This will be provided by recognition of refugee status. The scope for recognition of refugee status is broader than the scope for the seizure of power by the Taliban. Therefore, many Afghans will be able to count on refugee status.
This involves many different profiles such as journalists, human rights activists, opponents and critics of the Taliban, persons occupying certain positions under the previous government, certain staff members of the former foreign troops and organizations, certain minorities, LGBT persons and other persons who are opposed to conservative or religious norms and values, unaccompanied minors or women without a network, relatives of certain risk profiles…
Subsidiary Protection status
On the other hand, today there is no longer a reason for granting subsidiary protection status. This is due to the significantly changed security situation.
Attacks and violent incidents continue to occur. This mainly involves targeted violence. Targeted persons generally belong to profiles eligible for recognition of refugee status. Therefore, they can count on protection through recognition of refugee status. In Afghanistan, there is no longer a real risk of becoming a victim of indiscriminate violence.
There is also no reason to grant subsidiary protection status because of the humanitarian situation.
In principle, it is not possible to obtain subsidiary protection status for socio-economic reasons. This is only possible in very extreme circumstances and when, moreover, that situation is the result of deliberate acts or omissions by an actor (in this case, possibly the Taliban). This situation is not present in Afghanistan.
The CGRS had already established this policy earlier this year. By applying this policy, the CGRS took many decisions last month, both decisions recognizing refugee status and decisions of refusal. Appeals against the decisions of refusal were filed at the Council for Alien Law Litigation (CALL).
Recently, the CALL issued a number of judgments. The CALL confirmed the policy of the CGRS. The judgements clearly confirmed that in general, taking into account the current situation in Afghanistan, there is no reason to grant subsidiary protection status, both because of the security and humanitarian situation. For a number of cases, the decision was reversed or overturned because of the special individual situation of the applicant. These judgements do not compromise the policy of the CGRS.
The CGRS will continue to consistently assess applications for international protection filed by persons from Afghanistan.
Moreover, a special action plan was developed to reduce the backlog for the files of persons coming from Afghanistan in the coming months. Many decisions will continue to be taken, both decisions recognizing refugee status and decisions of refusal.
During the period from September 2021 to September 2022, the CGRS took 3,931 decisions for a total of 4,585 persons from Afghanistan. 2,235 Afghans (1,632 files) were granted international protection status by the CGRS. The protection rate for this period amounted to 41.6%. If we leave out the inadmissibility decisions (mainly for subsequent applications and for applications of persons who already have a protection status in another EU Member State), the protection rate amounted to 52.2%.