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The Qualification for Being a Refugee under eu Law: Religion as a Reason for Persecution

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Court of Justice of the European Union (Grand Chamber), Judgment of 5 September 2012, Joined Cases C-71/11 and C-99/11, Bundesrepublik Deutschland v. Y and Z

The Court of Justice in Y and Z deals with persecution in the form of interference in the right to practise one’s religion. The main aspects of the judgment can be summarized in the following three statements: in order to be granted refugee status under eu law, only a severe violation of religious freedom can be regarded as an act of persecution; the severity of the acts of persecution must be identified on the basis of the nature of the repression inflicted on the individual and its consequences; the competent authorities cannot expect the applicant to abstain from religious practices upon the return to his country of origin. Y and Z is an undeniable reference towards the interpretation of religion-based persecution provisions of the Qualification Directive. From the perspective of religious freedom, the Court reinforces the commitment of the eu with the European and international human rights standards concerning this right.

Affiliations: 1: Centre of Studies in European Union Law, School of Law, University of


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