HGMO (Relocation to Khartoum)

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtAsylum and Immigration Tribunal
JudgeSenior Immigration Judge Storey
Judgment Date03 August 2006
Neutral Citation[2006] UKAIT 62

[2006] UKAIT 62

THE IMMIGRATION ACTS

Before

The Honourable Mr Justice Hodge OBE, President

Senior Immigration Judge Storey

Senior Immigration Judge Lane

Between
HGMO
Appellant
and
The Secretary of State for the Home Department
Respondent
Representation:

For Appellant H: Mr A. Mahmood, Counsel, instructed by Messrs Blakemores Solicitors

For Appellant G: Mr B. Ali, Solicitor, of Messrs Aman Solicitors

For Appellant M: Mr C. Jacobs, Counsel, instructed by Messrs White Ryland Solicitors

For Appellant O: Ms L. Brakaj, Solicitor, of Messrs Halliday Reeves Solicitors

For the Respondent: Ms L. Giovannetti, Counsel, instructed by the Treasury Solicitor

HGMO (Relocation to Khartoum) Sudan CG

(1) This case gives country guidance in relation to the removal to Khartoum of certain Sudanese nationals. It replaces as country guidance the cases of AE (Relocation-Darfur-Khartoum an option) Sudan CG [2005] UKAIT 00101 and MH (Darfurians: relocation to Khartoum?) Sudan CG [2006] UKAIT 00033 .

(2) Neither involuntary returnees nor failed asylum seekers nor persons of military age (including draft evaders and deserters) are as such at real risk on return to Khartoum.

(3) A person will not be at real risk on return to Khartoum solely because he or she is of Darfuri origin or non-Arab Darfuri origin. Neither at the airport or subsequently will such a person face a real risk of being targeted for persecutory harm or ill treatment.

(4) A person of Darfuri origin or non-Arab Darfuri origin can in general be reasonably expected to relocate to Khartoum. If that person were in practice compelled to live in an IDP camp or a squatter area in Khartoum, this would not expose the person concerned to a real risk of serious harm or ill treatment contrary to Article 3 or conditions which would be unduly harsh, according to the legal tests in Januzi [2006] UKHL 5 , since there is no marked difference between conditions in such camps and squatter areas and the living conditions for most persons living inSudan.

(5) In any event, it cannot automatically be assumed that a returnee who is of Darfuri origin or non-Arab Darfuri origin will be reasonably likely to have to live in such a camp or area — it will be for an appellant to prove this in his or her case.

(6) An appellant will be able to succeed on the basis of medical needs only in extreme and exceptional circumstances.

(7) There will, nevertheless, be limited categories of Darfuri returnees who will be at real risk on return to Khartoum. Each case will need to be considered on its own individual merits, taking account of all relevant circumstances, considered individually and cumulatively. The Tribunal considers that the following can be said to constitute particular risk categories (see further paragraph 309 of the determination):

a) persons of non-Arab Darfuri origin from one of the villages or areas of Darfur which are “hotspots” or “rebel strongholds” from which rebel leaders are known to originate;

b) persons (including certain students) whose conduct marks them out as oppositionists or anti-government activists;

c) tribal leaders;

d) persons who whilst in the United Kingdom have engaged in activities which the Sudanese government is likely to know about and regard as significantly harmful to its interests;

e) female returnees, if they are reasonably likely to be associated with a Sudanese male of adverse interest to the authorities or if it is reasonably likely that they would have no alternative but to become a female-headed household in an IDP camp or squatter area.

Determination and Reasons
1

This determination deals with a number of issues relating to the return of Sudanese nationals, including those of non-Arab Darfuri origin, to Khartoum. On 15 February 2006 the House of Lords remitted the appeals of the first three appellants (hereinafter referred to as appellant H, appellant G and appellant M) to the Tribunal for reconsideration ( Januzi v. Secretary of State for the Home Department & Ors [2006] UKHL 5).

2

The appeal of the fourth appellant comes before us as a second-stage reconsideration, a panel having found on the last occasion that there was a material error of law on the part of the adjudicator in allowing his appeal.

3

All four appellants are members of black African non-Arab tribes who reside in the western part of Sudan known as Darfur. All four were found to face a real risk of persecution in Darfur.

4

As stated at paragraphs 59 and 60 of the opinions in Januzi, the nature of the reconsideration in the first three appeals must take the form of a reassessment of the internal relocation alternative (within the context of the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees) that may be available to a person originating from Darfur, and the humanitarian considerations under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights that may be raised by requiring a person who has fled persecution in Darfur to relocate to Khartoum. In our view the same must apply to the reconsideration of the fourth appellant's case (but see paragraph 352).

The cases of Appellants H, G and M
5

At paragraphs 35 to 43 of the opinions, Lord Hope set out the nature of the claims of appellants H, G and M, the response of the Secretary of State to those claims and the findings of the adjudicator or Immigration Judge who heard the respective appeals:–

“… [Appellant H]

35. [Appellant H] is a citizen of Sudan. He was born on 1 July 1972. He seeks asylum on the ground that he has a well-founded fear for reasons of race. He claims that he is a member of the Zaghawa tribe from the village of Oro in west Darfur. He says that in November 2003 his village was attacked by the Janjaweed militia. His father and brother were killed in this attack. He and his mother went to stay with his uncle in the village of Taweela. But in October 2004 this village too was attacked by the Janjaweed and his mother was killed. He then went to the village of Al Shyria where he met an agent who arranged for him to leave the country, which he did in October 2004. He reached the United Kingdom and claimed asylum on his arrival here on 22 November 2004.

36. The Secretary of State resisted [appellant H's] claim by letter dated 19 January 2005 on the ground that the responses he gave to questions when he was interviewed indicated to the asylum caseworker that his account of his place of origin was not genuine. The caseworker did not believe that [appellant H] was from Darfur. So she did not accept that he would be at risk of being killed or subjected to any other ill-treatment if he returned to Sudan. She held that he did not have a well-founded fear of persecution in Sudan on the grounds of his race.

37. [Appellant H's] case was reconsidered by an adjudicator on 16 March 2005. She accepted his account of his origins and background and of what had happened to him in Sudan. She concluded that he had established that he had suffered persecution because of his ethnicity and that he would be at risk if he were to return to his home area. But she said that if he were to be returned to Sudan he would arrive at Khartoum. In her opinion he could remain there, as this was an area of his country where he would not have a well-founded fear of persecution. In reaching this decision she followed the reasoning of the Immigration Appeal Tribunal in MM (Zaghawa — Risk on Return — internal Flight) ( Sudan) [2005] UKIAT 00069. She relied on the fact that he had no history of political involvement and was not a student. She said that, given the numbers of displaced people in Khartoum and their diverse ethnicity, there was no reason to think that he would be treated with suspicion and prejudice by the local security forces and there was no real likelihood of a risk of persecution or of treatment contrary to article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. She accepted that he had lost his family in Darfur and had had to flee the Janjaweed. But there was no evidence that he faced any health issues and, as he was aged 32, he was neither very young nor old. So, while it might well be difficult and even harsh for him to relocate in Sudan, it would not be unduly harsh for him to do so in the circumstances. His appeal to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal was rejected by the immigration judge.

6

It is convenient to interpose at this point two matters. In June 2005, after the adjudicator had heard appellant H's appeal there was published a report by the Aegis Trust entitled “Lives in our Hands: Darfuri asylum seekers facing removal to Khartoum”. Appellant H is one of the 26 people mentioned in the report as having been interviewed by the Trust. The report recites the basic facts of what happened to him in Darfur (which, as we have noted, were accepted by the Immigration Judge). The current status of his case is said, somewhat prematurely as it turned out, to be “closed”, given that his “appeals have been refused”. Secondly, in connection with the reconsideration, appellant H served a copy of a letter dated 17 June 2006 from a Mr Mohamed Norsal, General Secretary of “The Union of the People of Darfur in U.K. & N. Ireland”. This letter asserts, on the basis of a “thorough interview” by a panel of office holders in the Union, that appellant H “is Darfurian, born in uruoo village”. Attached to the letter is a colour photocopy of two photographs, showing a person (presumably appellant H) in a crowd of what appear to be demonstrators. Appellant H is holding a placard bearing words that are critical of what is happening in Darfur.

7

As has already been noted, the adjudicator who heard appellant H's appeal found that he had suffered persecution in Darfur. Before the adjudicator appellant H said that his village was “Oro”, which would appear to be the same place as that transliterated in the letter from the Union as “uruoo”. Before us Mr Mahmood...

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