KK IH HE (Palestinians –camps)

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtImmigration Appeals Tribunal
JudgeVICE PRESIDENT
Judgment Date29 October 2004
Neutral Citation[2004] UKIAT 293
Date29 October 2004

[2004] UKIAT 293

IMMIGRATION APPEAL TRIBUNAL

Before

Mr D K Allen (Vice President)

Mr J Barnes (Vice President)

Mr C P Mather (Vice President)

Between
‘K’
‘H’
‘E’
Appellant
and
Secretary of State for the Home Department
Respondent
Representation:

For the first and second appellants: Mr H Southey, Counsel, instructed by Wilson & Co.

For the third appellant: Mr S Cantor, Counsel, instructed by Simmonds, solicitors.

For the respondent: Ms E Laing, Counsel, instructed by the Treasury Solicitor.

KK IH HE (Palestinians —camps) Lebanon CG

DETERMINATION AND REASONS
1

The three appellants are all stateless Palestinians. Their cases have been linked in order that the Tribunal can consider the question of conditions in the Palestinian camps in Lebanon, in addition to considering the individual appeals.

Immigration History
The First Appellant
2

‘K’ was born on 22 March 1978. He arrived in the United Kingdom on 5 August 1997 having travelled via Cuba. He claimed asylum on arrival. He had no valid passport or travel document and said his papers were lost as he boarded a plane in Cuba. He has no dependants. The respondent, in a decision dated 16 August 2000, refused leave to enter following the decision to refuse his asylum claim and indicated that he intended to give directions for his removal to Lebanon.

3

‘K’ appealed that decision by virtue of Section 8(1) of the Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act 1993. The appeal was first heard by an Adjudicator who treated it as abandoned. Following a judicial review, the appeal was remitted back to the Immigration Appellate Authority for a fresh hearing. Subsequently, his appeal was heard by an Adjudicator (Mr J P Pullig), who in a determination dated 21 May 2002, dismissed it on asylum grounds. By virtue of the date of the respondent's decision, ‘K's appeal was limited to refugee issues.

4

‘K’ was granted permission to appeal to the Tribunal. Following an earlier hearing, the Tribunal, chaired by the Deputy President, dismissed his appeal in a determination notified on 3 October 2002.

5

The Tribunal later refused permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal but permission was granted by the Court on 22 November 2002. Following a hearing on 4 April 2003, the Court of Appeal quashed the decision of the Immigration Appeal Tribunal and remitted the appeal back to the Tribunal for it to be reheard by a differently constituted Tribunal.

The Second Appellant
6

‘H’ was born on 20 December 1975. He left Lebanon on 11 September 1999 and went to Abu Dhabi. He remained there for fourteen days and then flew to the United Kingdom, arriving on 25 September 1999. He claimed asylum at the port. He travelled on his own, valid, passport. On 18 February 2001 he was refused leave to enter following the refusal of his asylum claim. He appealed to an Adjudicator (Mr D M Wynn-Simpson) who, in a determination promulgated on 10 July 2002, dismissed the appeal on both asylum and human rights grounds. ‘K’ applied for permission to appeal to the Tribunal. That was refused on 8 August 2002. He then applied for judicial review of that decision. On 11 October 2002, by consent, the High Court quashed the decision to refuse permission and remitted the appeal back to the Immigration Appeal Tribunal for a fresh consideration of the application for permission to appeal. On 4 November 2002 permission to appeal was granted.

The Third Appellant
7

‘E’ was born on 1 July 1971. He arrived at Heathrow Airport on 5 December 1997. At the time he held a genuine Palestinian travel document which had been issued by the Lebanese authorities. He claimed asylum on arrival. On 20 January 2003 the respondent refused leave to enter, following refusal of his asylum claim and issuing directions for ‘E's removal to Lebanon. ‘E’ appealed that decision to an Adjudicator (Mr M Shrimpton) who, in a determination promulgated on 25 November 2003, dismissed the appeal on both asylum and human rights grounds. The Tribunal granted him permission to appeal on 4 February 2004.

The Bases of the claims, the facts as found and the issues at large
The First Appellant
8

‘K’ was born in Kuwait but does not have Kuwaiti nationality. He was educated there and in 1997 the family left Kuwait and went to Lebanon. His family moved into the Ain-Alihiwa Camp. He is registered with UNWRA. He accepts that when he subsequently left Lebanon for Cuba he used his own passport. ‘K’ described the Ain-Alihiwa Camp, run by UNWRA, as being very badly organised with a number of political parties operating inside it. Whilst there, the ‘K’ enrolled on a two year Business and Administration Course at the Sibleen Training Centre near Saida, which had been set up by UNWRA. All the students were Palestinians.

9

Whilst studying on that course he met two friends who were members of an organisation, El-Kifah El-Musalaah (the Armed Struggle Movement). It was a group that had split away from Fatah. They told ‘K’ that the aim of the organisation was to liberate Palestine. They collected donations for the cause. He was persuaded to join and was given an identity card. He understands that there were about 150 other members of the group. He helped to collect donations and undertook military training. When the group expressed its intention to become involved in military operations outside the camp, on the South Lebanese/Israeli border he did not wish to be involved. It was made clear to him that having joined, he was there for life. He was told he had information about the organisation and that, if he deserted, he would be tortured, detained and beaten. One of his neighbours was also a member of the organisation and had run away two months before. He had never returned. He said that he knew he would have to leave Lebanon because he would not be able to work legally outside the camp and had no other means of financial support. His parents agreed to pay for him to leave the country. He claimed that he would have to go back to that camp if he were returned to Lebanon and would be put in prison there. If he were outside the camp he would not be able to study or work and would be humiliated. He said that he would be tortured in prison and there was nobody to turn to in the camp for protection.

10

When cross examined he confirmed that he had never been arrested or detained in Lebanon and had never suffered any physical harm. He said that, as a Palestinian, he was humiliated.

11

The Adjudicator, in dismissing the appeal, found ‘K’ was not a credible witness. Although that credibility finding was originally challenged in the appeal to the Tribunal it was not a feature of the appeal in the Court of Appeal. The court dealt only with the question of whether or not ‘K’ would be persecuted for a Convention reason if he were returned to Lebanon and to the camp. As a result, the only issue before the Tribunal was the question as to whether the conditions in his camp are such that to return him, as a young male failed asylum seeker would amount to persecution.

Second Appellant
12

‘H’ was born in Libya where his father was working. The family returned to Lebanon when ‘H’ was about five years old (in about 1980). He lived in the Borj el Shimali Camp. He describes the camp as containing a lot of political opposition supported by Islamic organisations headed by Hezbollah. ‘H’ left school at the age of fifteen and studied for a further two years in the Siphine Training Centre sponsored by UNWRA. Following that, he worked as a car mechanic until he left for Abu Dhabi in July 1998. He remained there for a year with a work permit. His stay was then extended for a few weeks by his manager. He returned to Lebanon in late July 1999 and remained there for about one and a half months before going back to Abu Dhabi on 11 September 1999. He stayed there until he left for the United Kingdom after about fourteen days.

13

He was asked at interview why he left Lebanon. He said that he was a member of Fatah and part of his role was to distribute leaflets. There came a day, in 1997 when there was a celebration. Islamists had invited a singing group from Jordan. Out of respect, members of Fatah, including ‘H’, went to the celebration during which a Sheikh made a speech and cursed Fatah. He criticised Yassar Arafat. This caused ‘H's group to increase the distribution of their leaflets criticising Hamas. As a result, a leader of Hamas in another camp, issued a statement which ‘H’ described as a fatwa to the effect that anyone who had participated in writing and distributing the leaflets would be considered an atheist, against Islam and should be killed. ‘H’ claims that as a result, one of his colleagues was killed in about June 1997. He said there were five of them who were involved in distributing the leaflets. Of the others, one went to Cuba, one to Holland and one, possibly, to Germany. As a result of this fatwa, ‘H’ went to stay with his sister in Beirut. Her husband knew of a project in Abu Dhabi and was able to get him a job there as a car mechanic.

14

The Adjudicator found ‘H’ was not a credible witness. Referring to the move to Abu Dhabi, which he accepted, he said,

“It is an entirely understandable decision on his part for it is clear that the Palestinian refugees living in camps in Lebanon do so in conditions in which there is an almost total disregard for human rights”.

Notwithstanding that, as a result of the adverse credibility finding, the Adjudicator decided that ‘H’ was not a refugee. On the subject of human rights, he also rejected the claim that it would be a breach of ‘H's rights under Article 3 ECHR to return him. He rejected the submissions made on his behalf on the basis that, if correct, every Palestinian from the camps in Lebanon would be entitled to claim the protection of the European Convention in any state in the European Union. The Adjudicator said he could find no evidence that had been...

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