According to Article 8(1) QD, IPA can only apply if the applicant ‘can reasonably be expected to settle’ in the proposed area of internal protection. In case the criteria of safety and travel and admittance are met, the assessment of the availability of IPA in Damascus City should proceed with an analysis of its reasonableness in light of the general situation in the city and the individual circumstances of the applicant.
Neither the QD nor the case law of CJEU offer relevant criteria that may be relied upon when establishing whether it is reasonable for the person to settle in the IPA location. This common analysis follows a rights-based approach in light of relevant jurisprudence of the ECtHR.
While acknowledging that the ECtHR jurisprudence is in the context of a different legal regime and addresses particular individual situations, the following principles could be derived from it and are found of relevance to the reasonableness test under Article 8 QD:
- The assessment should take into account the applicant’s ability to cater for his most basic needs, such as food, hygiene and shelter, his or her vulnerability to ill-treatment and the prospect of his situation improving within a reasonable timeframe.
- Internal relocation inevitably involves certain hardship. In this regard, difficulties in finding proper jobs and housing would not be decisive, if it could be found that the general living conditions for the applicant in the proposed area of IPA would not be unreasonable or in any way amount to treatment prohibited by Article 3 ECHR.
In the examination of the reasonableness of IPA, the following elements should be taken into account:
■ the situation with regard to food security;
■ the availability of basic infrastructure and services, such as:
■ shelter and housing;
■ basic healthcare;
■ hygiene, including water and sanitation;
■ the availability of basic subsistence that ensures access to food, hygiene and shelter, such as through employment, existing financial means, support by a network or humanitarian aid.
The general situation in the area in consideration should be examined in light of the criteria described above, and not in comparison with standards in Europe or other areas in the country of origin.
>>> These criteria are assessed in relation to the general situation in Damascus City (General situation).