The case of W.H. v. Sweden involves, W.H., who is an Iraqi national originally from Baghdad and is of Mandaean denomination. She arrived in Sweden in August 2007 and currently lives there. When she had arrived in Sweden in August, she claimed asylum. The Migration Board and Migration Court reviewed her claim, which was ultimately rejected in 2010. The reason for the denial was because the Migration Court felt that she did not need protection. The applicant relied on Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which is the prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment to make her case. The applicant stated that she was at a huge risk of facing inhuman and degrading treatment if she were to return to Iraq because of the fact that she belonged to an ethnic and religious minority. She also added that her being a divorced woman further increased that risk. Her biggest point, however, was that because she did not have any male friends or relatives in Iraq, she would be facing the constant risk of possible assault, persecution, forced marriage, rape, and forced conversion of religion.
On March 27, 2014, the Court in its Chamber judgment unanimously held that the applicant’s deportation to Iraq would not be a violation of Article 3. The Court reasoned that although the applicant could possibly be at the risk of facing inhuman and degrading treatment because of her being a divorced single woman and being from an ethnic and religious minority, she could avoid all of that if she returned to the southern and central parts of Iraq. The Court concluded that as long as she did not return to the outer parts of the Kurdistan Region and stayed within the Kurdistan Region, her status and personal situations would not put her at risk of inhuman and degrading treatment. The Court, however, took an interesting turn by taking interim measures under Rule 39 of its Rules of Court and told the Swedish Government not to deport the applicant until the Chamber judgment was finalized.
This case was referred to the Grand Chamber at the request of the applicant on September 8, 2014. The Court will be holding a hearing for this case on March 18, 2015.
How do you think this case will turn out? Does the applicant have legitimate reasons to want to stay out of Iraq and ultimately stay in Sweden?