CAT/C/65/D/765/2016

4.3
The State party recalls the Committee’s jurisprudence, submitting that the
complainant must establish the existence of a personal, present and substantial risk of being
subjected to torture upon return to his or her country of origin. There must be grounds for
describing the risk of torture as “substantial”.6 The State party recalls that the following
elements must be taken into account to ascertain the existence of such a risk: any evidence
of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights in the country of
origin; any claims of torture or ill-treatment made by the complainant in the recent past and
any independent evidence to support those claims; any political activity that the
complainant has engaged in within or outside the country of origin; any evidence
concerning the credibility of the complainant; and any factual inconsistencies in the
complainant’s claims.7 The State party presents its observations in the light of these factors.
4.4
The State party points out that the existence of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant
or mass violations of human rights does not, in itself, constitute sufficient grounds for
determining that a particular person would be subjected to torture upon return to his or her
country of origin. The Committee must establish whether the complainant is “personally” at
risk of being subjected to torture in the country to which he or she would be returned.
Additional grounds must be adduced in order for the risk of torture to qualify as
“foreseeable, real and personal” for the purposes of article 3 (1) of the Convention. The
existence of such a risk must be assessed on grounds that go beyond mere theory or
suspicion. Conversely, the absence of flagrant and systematic violations of human rights
does not mean that a particular individual cannot face a risk of torture in his or her
particular circumstances.8 The State party admits that the situation of human rights in
Ethiopia is serious in many respects, and that torture is frequently used, in particular against
political opponents or alleged members of violent separatist groups, such as the Oromo
Liberation Front.9 However, the situation in the complainant’s country of origin does not
constitute, in itself, sufficient grounds for concluding that he would be at risk of torture if
he were to be returned there. The State party alleges that the complainant did not present
sufficient evidence to allow it to conclude that he would face a foreseeable, real and
personal risk of torture in the event of his removal to Ethiopia.
4.5
With regard to the complainant’s allegations that he had been tortured in the past,
the State party recognizes that the complainant was beaten and threatened during
interrogation following his arrests, and a torch was shone into his eyes. However, he was
not exposed to torture or ill-treatment, which would have had harmful consequences.
Although he was given an opportunity to clarify the events before the Federal Office for
Migration and during the appeal proceedings, he did not elaborate on being exposed to
serious ill-treatment. The fact that his legal counsel merely stated that it was highly
probable that he had also been a victim of torture in detention suggests that he was not
exposed to serious ill-treatment. The State party further recalls that he was released from
detention each time following the provision of adequate guarantees, including bail. He has
not experienced any difficulties since his last release in 2011, nor have the authorities
placed any restrictions on his rights. Although he felt that he was under surveillance and
that he had to report to the police, his situation was not unsustainable as it did not amount to
intolerable psychological pressure.
4.6
With regard to his political activities in Ethiopia,10 the State party submits that the
complainant does not claim to have been a member of the Oromo Liberation Front in
Ethiopia but considered himself a mere sympathizer of the movement on account of his
Oromo ethnicity. If the Ethiopian authorities had perceived him to be a political opponent,
they would not have interrogated him at irregular and long intervals and they would have
detained him for more than a few days at a time, when in fact only his first detention period
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See the Committee’s general comment No. 1 (1997) on the implementation of article 3 in the context
of article 22, paras. 6 and 7, which was replaced by general comment No. 4, effective from 6
December 2017.
Ibid., para. 8.
See, for example, N.S. v. Switzerland (CAT/C/44/D/356/2008), para. 7.2.
See, for example, R.D. v. Switzerland (CAT/C/51/D/426/2010), para. 9.6.
See the Committee’s general comment No. 1 (1997), para. 8 (e), which was replaced by general
comment No. 4, effective from 6 December 2017.

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