On the 3rd of February 2023, the Human Rights Committee (CCPR) ruled in its communication no. 3017/201. The communication concerns a Russian family (AB, PD and their children) fleeing Russia through Belarus with the intention to apply for asylum in Poland. The applicants made more than 20 attempts requesting asylum, however, their requests were never recognised by the Polish Border Guards resulting in a failure to communicate these requests to the competent asylum authorities. The Border Guards then denied the family entry and sent them back to Belarus, where they allegedly feared deportation to the Russia and the pregnant mother lacked the financial means to access medical care while being seriously sick.
The CCPR reiterated that Article 7 ICPPR provides that Poland may not expel persons if there is a risk of irreparable harm; and found that the applicants substantiated their claims while Poland did not provide interview records demonstrating the absence of the applicants’ protection claims. Consequently, the CCPR ruled that Poland violated Article 7 by refusing to recognise the applicant’s asylum requests and denying them the opportunity to have their claims assessed. Furthermore, by denying the applicants the opportunity to have their claims considered and denying them their right to challenge those denials (including the failures to provide access to legal assistance, produce the interview notes at the time of the expulsion decision or thereafter and offer a remedy with suspensive effect on their expulsion orders), Poland failed to provide procedural safeguards hence violated Article 2 (3) in conjunction with Article 7.
Next, the CCPR found that Poland’s decision denying applicants their status without recognising or assessing their requests is arbitrary and violates this Article. Furthermore, by issuing expulsion orders with immediate effect and implementing them without providing opportunities to effectively challenge the arbitrary denial of asylum-seeker status, Poland failed to provide access to an effective remedy against an Article 13 violation hence breached Article 2 (3) in conjunction with Article 13 of the Covenant.