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AT: The Constitutional Court confirms the Federal Administrative Court decision that based on personal circumstances the applicant can use an internal flight alternative to return to Afghanistan

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Referral to the CJEU
Original Documents
Relevant Legislative Provisions
Revised Qualification Directive (Directive 2011/95/EU on standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as BIP for a uniform status for refugees or for persons eligible for subsidiary protection- recast)/or QD 2004/83/EC;
Austria, Constitutional Court [Verfassungsgerichtshof Österreich], Applicant (Afghanistan) v Federal Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht - BVwG), E4399/2019, AT:VFGH:2020:E4399.2019, 04 March 2020. Link redirects to the English summary in the EUAA Case Law Database.
Permanent link to the case
Case history
Related cases:

In order to assess the existence of the conditions set out in Section 8 (1) AsylG 2005, sufficiently up-to-date country reports must be used and this applies in particular to countries with rapidly changing security situation. In this context, the Constitutional Court stated in its caselaw that reference should be made, for example, to the UNHCR or to the EASO reports. In the context of the examination of an internal flight alternative, art. 8(2) of the Qualification Directive 2011/95/EU requires that accurate and up-to-date information to be obtained from relevant sources, such as UNHCR or EASO reports. Lower administrative courts alsoo underlined that special attention must be paid to these reports.

In the present case, the Federal Administrative Court (BVwG) has considered that the applicant could be referred to an internal flight alternative in Mazar-e Sharif, taking into account the country information report provided by the State Documentation of 29 June 2018 and 26 March 2019, the UNHCR guidelines and the  EASO "Country Guidance: Afghanistan - guidance and common analysis", June 2018. The EASO "Country-Guidance: Afghanistan - guidance note and common analysis" notes that single men can be expected to make an internal flight alternative in the cities of Mazar-e Sharif, Herat or Kabul, even if there is no support network in the resettlement area.

This assessment excludes those returnees who have lived outside Afghanistan for a long time. EASO's reports state that an internal flight alternative is not eligible for this group of persons if there is no support network at the destination to assist the specific person in meeting basic existential needs and that an assessment is needed on a case-by-case basis using the following criteria: support network, local knowledge of the person concerned or links with Afghanistan, social and economic background (in particular educational and professional experience, self-preservation outside Afghanistan).

In this respect, the BVwG dealt sufficiently with the applicant's situation. It found, at the factual level, that the applicant is young and capable of working and had received six years of schooling in Iran. In addition, he has professional experience as an installer. In its legal assessment, the BVwG further states that there are circumstances which allow the applicant to return to Mazar-e Sharif, even though he does not have a support network. The applicant does not belong to any group of persons who are presumed to be more vulnerable than the rest of the population in terms of individual care; he is familiar with the cultural and social realities of the country on the basis of socialisation in an Afghan family and could also benefit from return assistance, which would allow him to obtain support for starting a business on a return to Afghanistan. The BVwG has therefore dealt with the social and economic background of the applicant in a way that cannot be objected to by the constitution. The Constitutional Court confirmed the Federal Administrative Court decision and concluded that the applicant has an internal flight alternative.

Country of Decision
Court Name
AT: Constitutional Court [Verfassungsgerichtshof Österreich]
Case Number
Date of Decision
Country of Origin
Assessment of Application
Asylum Procedures/Special Procedures
Country of Origin Information
EUAA COI Reports
EUAA Country Guidance Materials
Internal protection alternative/ flight alternative