Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 May 2023, 15:20 GMT

OVG Lüneburg 4. Senat, Beschluss vom 09.02.2022, 4 LA 74/20,

Publisher Germany: Oberverwaltungsgericht
Publication Date 9 February 2022
Citation / Document Symbol ECLI:DE:OVGNI:2022:0209.4LA74.20.00
Other Languages / Attachments German decision
Cite as OVG Lüneburg 4. Senat, Beschluss vom 09.02.2022, 4 LA 74/20,, ECLI:DE:OVGNI:2022:0209.4LA74.20.00, Germany: Oberverwaltungsgericht, 9 February 2022, available at:,DEU_THUER_OBER,622f09e94.html [accessed 17 May 2023]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Germany: Administrative Court holds that women in Eritrean military part of national service do not belong to a particular social group but are exposed to a real risk of serious harm

On 9 February 2022, the Higher Administrative Court of Lüneburg rejected the state's application for leave to appeal the Administrative Court of Hanover's judgment and clarified questions it raised. The case concerned an Eritrean woman who obtained subsidiary protection in Germany and sought to attain refugee status on the grounds of persecution in the form of gender-based violence for being a woman in the national service.
The Court firstly referred to the "particular social group" requirement in this case for refugee recognition. It referred to the necessary element of a "clearly defined identity" and set out that it is not satisfied solely by the fact that a large number of people are affected in a comparable way by an act of persecution. It continued that persecution based solely on gender relates to a particular social group only if the group is regarded as different by the society surrounding them. The Court concluded that women in the Eritrean national service do not constitute a particular social group as the clearly defined identity is missing and they are not regarded as different by the rest of Eritrean society. In this conclusion, the Court referred to evidence that sexual assaults occur to women and girls in and outside of the national service and additionally to male conscripts in the national service. However, the assaults do not occur because women are perceived as different for being women in the national service.
The Court furthermore relied on evidence by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and EUAA to determine that although the applicant could not be granted refugee status on account of the particular social group requirement, women who are called to the military part of the national service in particular have a considerable probability of serious harm from sexual assault by superiors and that due to the numerous reports of these widespread assaults there is no reason to believe that this information outdated.
Based on an unofficial translation within the ELENA team.

ELENA Weekly Legal Update - 4 March 2022

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