Rejection of asylum seekers’ documents without verifying their authenticity breaches human rights.
In the case of Singh and Others v. Belgium (application no. 33210/11) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) taken together with Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The case concerned a family of asylum seekers who claimed to belong to the Sikh minority in Afghanistan. Their asylum application was dismissed by the Belgian authorities, who did not believe them to be Afghan nationals. They complained in particular that their removal from Belgium to Moscow entailed a risk of refoulement to their country of origin, where they would face ill-treatment.
The Court found that copies of attestations from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Delhi - documents produced in support of their case - had been rejected by the Belgian authorities without sufficient investigation and that that had been at odds with the close and rigorous scrutiny required by the right to an effective remedy.
Full judgment only available in French: