Skip to main content
Last updated: January 2021

The criterion of safety would be satisfied where the following two aspects have been established:

✓ absence of the initial persecution or serious harm

With regard to protection needs related to refugee status, Article 15(a) QD and Article 15(b) QD, this should be examined in light of the elements below.

In the context of IPA concerning serious harm under Article 15(c) QD, it should be established that in the area considered under IPA the applicant would not face a real risk of such serious harm by reason of indiscriminate violence.

 no potential new forms of persecution or serious harm

The case officer should also establish that there are no potential new forms of persecution or serious harm in the area where IPA is considered for the applicant.[46]

The analysis under the chapters Refugee status and Subsidiary protection should be referred to in this regard.

These elements should be examined based on the general situation in the respective part of Iraq and the individual position and personal circumstances of the applicant, including elements such as background, gender, age, etc. (see Article 8(2) QD in reference to Article 4 QD).

Absence of persecution or serious harm

When assessing the requirement of safety with regard to the applicability of IPA in individual cases of applicants from Iraq, the following elements should be taken into account:

general security situation

The general security situation in particular in the cities of Baghdad, Basrah and Erbil should be assessed in accordance with the analysis under the section on Article 15(c) QD.

actor of persecution or serious harm and their reach

In case where the person fears persecution or serious harm by State actors, there is a presumption that IPA would not be available (e.g. persons perceived to be associated with ISIL). In specific cases, where the reach of a certain State actor is clearly limited to a particular geographical area (e.g. a PMU, the KRG, the Peshmerga), the criterion of safety may be satisfied with regard to other parts of Iraq.

With regard to persecution or serious harm by ISIL, it should be noted that the operational capacity of the armed group has decreased, however, it is still active in certain regions.

In some cases, where the applicant faces persecution or serious harm for reasons related to the prevalent tribal and social norms in Iraq and the actor of persecution or serious harm is Iraqi society at large (e.g. LGBTIQ persons, certain ethno-religious minorities), IPA would in general not be considered safe.

For certain particularly vulnerable individuals, such as women and children, if the actor of persecution or serious harm is the (extended) family, tribe or community (e.g. fasliya marriage, FGM), taking into account the reach of these actors and the lack of State protection, IPA would in general not meet the requirement of safety.

It should be underlined that it cannot be reasonably expected that the applicant abstains from practices fundamental to his or her identity, such as those related to their religion or sexual orientation, in order to avoid the risk of persecution or serious harm.[47]

See the section Actors of persecution or serious harm.

► whether or not the profile of the applicant is considered a priority target and/or a threat by the actor of persecution or serious harm

The profile of the applicant could make him or her a priority target for the State or for insurgent groups, increasing the likelihood that the actor of persecution or serious harm would attempt to trace the applicant in the potential IPA location.

► personal enmity

Some private disputes, including those based on honour and blood feuds, could strengthen the determination of the actor of persecution or serious harm to trace the applicant.

other risk-enhancing circumstances

The information under the section Analysis of particular profiles with regard to qualification for refugee status should be used to assist in this assessment.

Availability of protection against persecution or serious harm

Alternatively, the case officer may determine that the requirement of safety is satisfied if the applicant would have access to protection against persecution or serious harm, as defined in Article 7 QD, in the area where IPA is considered. In the case of persecution by the State, a presumption of non-availability of State protection applies.

See the chapter on Actors of protection above.

The requirement of safety may be satisfied in the cities of Baghdad, Basrah and Erbil, depending on the profile and the individual circumstances of the applicant.


[46] This can be further supported, by way of analogy, by the CJEU findings in the case of Abdulla, where the Court, interpreting Article 11(1)(e) QD on cessation, concluded that not only should the original circumstances which justified the person’s fear no longer exist, but the person should also have no other reason to fear being ‘persecuted’, CJEU, Abdulla and Others v Bundesrepublik Deutschland, joined cases C-175/08, C-176/08, C-178/08 and C-179/08, judgment of 2 March 2010, para. 76 [back to text]
[47] CJEU, X, Y and Z, paras. 70-76; CJEU, Y and Z, para. 80. [back to text]