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- Charles Spurgeon

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08 januari 2012

Interessante engelstalige analyse over Somalische jurisprudentie inzake asiel en terugkeer deel 2

Female genital mutilation
  • The incidence of FGM in Somalia is universally agreed to be over 90%. The predominant type of FGM is “pharaonic”, categorised by the World Health Organisationas Type III. The societal requirement for any girl or woman to undergo FGM is strong.In general, an uncircumcised, unmarried Somali woman, up to the age of 39, will be at real risk of suffering FGM.
  • The risk will be greatest in cases where both parents are in favour of FGM. Where both are opposed, the question of whether the risk will reach the requisite level will need to be determined by reference to the extent to which the parents are likely to be able to withstand the strong societal pressures. Unless the parents are from a socio-economic background that is likely to distance them from mainstream social attitudes, or there is some other particular feature of their case, parental opposition itself may well as a general matter be incapable of eliminating the real risk to the daughter that others (particularly relatives) will at some point inflict FGM on her.
Legal Guidance
The mammoth determination also contains 15 paragraphs of guidance on the law. These are summarised hereunder.
Firstly under section 2 of the HRA 1998, although a domestic tribunal is required to give effect to Strasbourg’s jurisprudence it is not bound to reach the same factual finding as Strasbourg because the conclusions regarding the relative weight to be placed on items of evidence adduced before a UK tribunal are ultimately matters for that tribunal.
Moreover, the judgment in Sufi & Elmi is jurisprudentially unproblematic because the high threshold (identified in N v UK) for finding an Article 3 violation in the case of naturally occurring phenomena did not need to be met. This is not to say, however, that the high threshold is not achievable in exceptional cases which must be assessed including the actions of the parties to a conflict, albeit that those actions are not the predominant cause of the humanitarian crisis.
Where Article 3 ECHR and Article 15(c) of the Qualification Directive are concerned authority variously has it that Article 15 (c) includes types of harm that are less severe than those encompassed by Article 3. Belief, under Article 10 of the Qualification Directive, means a coherent and genuinely held system of values and restrictions on watching TV: playing football did not constitute an interference with people’s religious beliefs who were not required to participate in such activities outside of their religion.
The religion element of Article 1(A) of the Refugee Convention cannot be satisfied solely by reference to the persecutor but can be satisfied if the persecutor imputes a perceived religious opinion to the victim. In determining a person’s entitlement to international protection no general legal principle exists to exclude possible acts – carried out in the proposed country of return – which would constitute a criminal offence in the UK. Genuine conscientious objections to complying with unjust laws or demands may, however, provide an entitlement to such protection.
Assuming that Al-Shabab’s behaviour towards those who break its rules is as found by the Tribunal, the position is as “extreme” as the factual basis in RT (Zimbabwe) and thus people from Al-Shabab areas who can show they are not genuine adherents of Al-Shabab’s ethos will have good claims to Refugee Convention protection, once outside Somalia (subject to internal relocation and exclusion clause issues), regardless of whether they could and would “play the game”, by adhering to Al-Shabab’s rules. It is up to the appellant to prove entitlement to international protection but this will turn on the circumstances of specific cases. In refusal letters and appellate proceedings the SSHD ought to raise internal relocation and it will be up to the appellant to assert why such relocation would be unreasonable.
Moreover, appeals arising from asylum and humanitarian protection grounds (following a grant of leave) can be decided hypothetically, where demonstrated by the facts, on the basis that that family members would be reasonably likely to return with the appellant and that potential harm to those family members would cause the appellant to suffer persecution or Article 15(b) harm. People who willingly inflict harm on others and use that as a basis to claim protection under the Refugee Convention, the Qualification Directive or Article 3 of the ECHR have no entitlement for such claims under the law.
Contrary to the decision in HH & Ors [2010] EWCA Civ 426 where it was held that Article 8 of the Qualification Directive was “to do principally with internal relocation”, such confinement of the said Article would be illogical.
Finally, where MA (Somalia) [2010] UKSC 49’s set of steps yield a “mechanistic” rather than a holistic approach in assessing appellants’ lies such steps are unnecessary and the “negative pull” or the significance of the lie depends not only on the strength of the background evidence but on whether the lie – looked at in its own terms – is about an issue that is central to the disposition of the appeal. Where lies were initially told to bolster issues which seemed important at the time but no are longer important, the Tribunal is entitled to approach with caution – in light of past lies – any evidence which remains central to the case.

Zie ook deel 1 of het orginele artikel van Asad Ali Khan

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