Asthmatic Bangladeshi refugee cannot be deported from France because of pollution in his homeland

Asthmatic Bangladeshi refugee cannot be deported from France because of air pollution in his homeland, court rules

  • Bangladeshi refugee fled his country in 2011 and settled in Toulouse, France
  • Local authorities issued an expulsion order but French courts overturned order
  • Bordeaux Appeals Court heard pollution in Bangladeshi could kill the asthmatic

A Bangladeshi refugee with asthma has avoided deportation from France after a court ruled that pollution in his native country would aggravate his condition and potentially kill him.

The Court of Appeal of Bordeaux ruled last month that the 40-year-old asthmatic would face ‘a worsening of his respiratory pathology due to air pollution’ if he was deported to Bangladesh.

Experts believe it is likely to be the first case in the world where someone forced out of their home has won the right to settle in a new country, with environmental conditions playing a key role in the decision.

The unnamed man fled persecution in Bangladesh and arrived in France in 2011, settling in Toulouse where he worked as a waiter before he was given a temporary residence permit as a foreign national requiring medical care.

In 2017, doctors advising French immigration officials recommended his condition ‘could be adequately treated in Bangladesh’ for his asthma – and two years laterlocal authorities issued an expulsion order.

A lower court inToulouse overturned the deportation order last June on grounds that the relevant drugs were not available in Bangladesh.

But last month theCourt of Appeal of Bordeaux went further by ruling that he could not be deported back to Bangladesh as the level of air pollution in his native country could kill him.

The refugee’s lawyerLudovic Rivire told the Guardian:’To my knowledge, this is the first time a French court has applied the environment as one of its criteria in such a case.

A Bangladeshi refugee with asthma has avoided deportation from France after a court ruled that pollution in his native country would aggravate his condition and potentially kill him. Pictured, aman crossing a dusty road in Dhaka, Bangladesh

A Bangladeshi refugee with asthma has avoided deportation from France after a court ruled that pollution in his native country would aggravate his condition and potentially kill him. Pictured, aman crossing a dusty road in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Smoke come out from kiln at brickfields in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Smoke come out from kiln at brickfields in Dhaka, Bangladesh

‘It decided my client’s life would be endangered by the air quality in Bangladesh.’

Bangladesh is ranked by Yale and Columbia universities’ Environmental Performance Index 179th out of 180 countries for air quality last year, with pollution an extremely high risk factor in the 572,600 deaths in the country caused by non-communicable disease in 2018.

The Bordeaux Court heard that the drugs the man is receiving in France are not available in Bangladesh.

It also heard that the Bangladeshi health system can only provide the night-time ventilation equipment he needs for hissleep apnoea in hospital.

The man’s father had died after suffering an asthma attack, Mr Rivire told the court, and said that the refugee’s respiratory capacity had increased from 58 per cent in 2013 to 70 per cent in 2018 while in France.

The lawyer said: ‘For all these reasons, the court decided that sending my client back to his country would mean putting him at real risk of death.

Experts believe it is likely to be the first case in the world where someone forced out of their home has won the right to settle in a new country on environmental grounds. Above,Dhaka

Experts believe it is likely to be the first case in the world where someone forced out of their home has won the right to settle in a new country on environmental grounds. Above,Dhaka

‘Respiratory failure as a result of an asthma attack would be almost inevitable.’

The case could set a precedent for how similar cases will be handled in France, with Ottawa University law professorThomas Burelli telling Vice World News it was the first time a court had accepted environmental concerns as a reason to side with a displaced person.

It is not the first case where courts have considered environmental issues as reasons to migrate, after a London coroner last month ruled that air pollution was a cause of the death of Ella Kissi-Debrah, who had severe asthma.

However, Imperial College scientistDr Gary Fuller said that the French case was the first he was aware of where the environment had been cited by a court in an extradition hearing.

‘The court has effectively declared that the environment – air pollution – meant it was unsafe to send this man back,’ he told the Guardian.

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