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Njamba and Balikosa v. Sweden

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Njamba and Balikosa v. Sweden

Court/Judicial Body:
Committee against Torture

Communication No. 322/2007

11 June 2007

Instruments cited:
Convention against Torture
Article 3: Refoulement

Ms. Njamba and her family were originally from the Gemena province of Equateur in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Ms. Njamba’s family moved to the Goma region where her husband became involved with an armed militia group. Violence erupted locally, allegedly in response to the activities of Ms. Njamba’s husband, and he and three of the couple’s children disappeared. Ms. Njamba, believing these members of her family to have been killed, fled to Sweden with her daughter. In Sweden, Ms. Njamba and her daughter unsuccessfully sought asylum, exhausted the available appeals mechanisms and submitted a communication to the Committee against Torture alleging that they faced a risk of torture if returned to the DRC.

The Committee considered Ms. Njamba’s claim that the medical resources in the DRC would be inadequate to treat her for HIV, and the deterioration of her health would constitute torture, to be inadmissible. Generally speaking, the deterioration of an already existing condition will not be considered to fall within the definition of torture. The Commission found that Sweden would, however, violate the rights of Ms. Njamba and her daughter if it returned them to the DRC. The Committee considered that the situation in the country was such that they would have faced foreseeable, real and personal risk of torture. In reaching this conclusion, the Committee placed particular weight on the prevalence of sexual-violence against women throughout the country. The Committee noted that the prevalence of such violence was not limited to the areas of the country where conflict was ongoing, so it would not be possible to identify safe areas of the country for repatriation.

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This summary is provided by Child Rights International Network for educational and informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.

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