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Common analysis
Last updated: September 2020

IPA should only be examined after it has been established that the applicant has a well-founded fear of persecution or faces a real risk of serious harm and that the authorities or other relevant actors of protection are unable or unwilling to protect him or her in the home area. In such cases, if IPA applies, it can be determined that the applicant is not in need of international protection.

It should, however, be stressed that there is no requirement that the applicant has exhausted the possibilities to obtain protection in different parts of his or her country of origin before seeking international protection.

The analysis of IPA should be part of the assessment of the future risk of being subjected to persecution or serious harm. When assessing whether or not IPA applies, the burden of proof lies with the determining authority, while the applicant remains under an obligation to cooperate. The applicant is also entitled to submit elements to indicate that IPA should not be applied to him or her.

This chapter is structured following the elements of the legal provision of Article 8 QD:

Figure 14. Internal protection alternative: elements of the assessment.

These criteria under Article 8(1) QD reflect ECtHR jurisprudence, for example in the case of Salah Sheekh.[45]

In relation to these elements, when assessing the applicability of IPA, the case officer should consider the general situation in the respective part of Syria, as well as the individual circumstances of the applicant. The implications of leaving Syria should also be given due consideration.

This chapter analyses and provides guidance on the applicability of IPA only in relation to Damascus City. This is without prejudice to the possibility to apply IPA to other places in Syria.



[45] ECtHR, Salah Sheekh v The Netherlands, Application no. 1948/04, judgment of 11 January 2007, para. 141: ‘The Court considers that as a precondition for relying on an internal flight alternative certain guarantees have to be in place: the person to be expelled must be able to travel to the area concerned, gain admittance and settle there, failing which an issue under Article 3 may arise, the more so if in the absence of such guarantees there is a possibility of the expellee ending up in a part of the country of origin where he or she may be subjected to ill-treatment.’ [back to text]