Mk (Documents – Relocation)

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
JudgeUpper Tribunal Judge Allen
Judgment Date09 February 2012
Neutral Citation[2012] UKUT 126 (IAC)
CourtUpper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber)
Date09 February 2012

[2012] UKUT 126 IAC

Upper Tribunal

(Immigration and Asylum Chamber)






The Secretary of State for the Home Department

For the Appellant: Mr T Hussain, Counsel, instructed by Switalskis Solicitors

For the Respondent: Mr R Hopkin, Senior Home Office Presenting Officer

MK (documents — relocation) Iraq CG

  • (1) Since the lack of documentation relating to identity in the form of the Civil Status ID (CSID), Iraqi Nationality Certificate (INC) and Public Distribution System (PDS) card (food ration card) is not ordinarily an insuperable problem, it is not a factor likely to make return to any part of Iraq unsafe or unreasonable.

    • (a) The CSID is an important document, both in its own right and as a gateway to obtaining other significant documents such the INC and the PDS. An inability to replace the CSID is likely to entail inability to access the INC and PDS.

    • (b) Although the general position is that a person who wishes to replace a lost CSID is required to return to their home area in order to do so, there are procedures as described in this determination available which make it possible (i) for Iraqis abroad to secure the issue of a new CSID to them through the offices of the local Iraqi Embassy; (ii) for Iraqis returned to Iraq without a CSID to obtain one without necessarily having to travel to their home area. Such procedures permit family members to obtain such documentation from their home areas on an applicant's behalf or allow for a person to be given a power of attorney to obtain the same. Those who are unable immediately to establish their identity can ordinarily obtain documentation by being presented before a judge from the Civil Status Court, so as to facilitate return to their place of origin.

  • (2) (a) Entry into and residence in the KRG can be effected by any Iraqi national with a CSID, INC and PDS, after registration with the Asayish (local security office). An Arab may need a sponsor; a Kurd will not.

  • (b) Living conditions in the KRG for a person who has relocated there are not without difficulties, but there are jobs, and there is access to free health care facilities, education, rented accommodation and financial and other support from UNHCR.

  • (3) Despite bureaucratic difficulties with registration and the difficulties faced by IDPs, it is wrong to say that there is, in general, no internal flight alternative in Iraq, bearing in mind in particular the levels of governmental and NGO support available.

  • (4) Whilst the situation for women in Iraq is, in general, not such as to give rise to a real risk of persecution or serious harm, there may be particular problems affecting female headed households where family support is lacking and jobs and other means of support may be harder to come by. Careful examination of the particular circumstances of the individual's case will be especially important.


All three members of the panel have contributed significantly to the writing of the determination. We received detailed oral and written evidence from the experts, Dr Fatah and Dr George. We have set out a synthesis of their evidence in appendices to this determination. It is appropriate to state at the outset that we accept the expertise of both witnesses, and are grateful for the assistance they have been able to give us. We have identified the points on which we have not been able to accept aspects of their evidence.


This is the re-hearing of the appeal of MK, a citizen of Iraq, now aged 52. The dependants in the appeal are her sons Ba, now aged 19, and Be, now aged 18, and her daughter S, now aged 9. The appeal is against the Secretary of State's decision of 6 March 2009 to issue directions for the appellant's removal from the United Kingdom. A previous appeal before an Immigration Judge, heard on 1 May 2009, at North Shields, was dismissed, but subsequently, following a hearing on 9 October 2009, it was found that the judge had erred in law and there required to be a rehearing. It was common ground that the credibility findings should stand.

The Judge's Findings

It is important therefore that we set out what those findings are. The appellant arrived in the United Kingdom on 5 February 2009, having travelled overland for twenty days with the three children. She claimed that her husband had obtained employment as an interpreter for the US forces in Iraq. He had been asked to interpret when eleven terrorists were arrested. At least one of the terrorists asked her husband to assist them in escaping but he refused to do so. The terrorists escaped and then targeted the appellant's husband. There was a grenade attack on the house as a result of which security guards were deployed there. However, almost a year later her husband and one of the sons were killed when their car was bombed when he was on his way to work one day, and two months later another of her sons was kidnapped from his school and has not been seen since. The appellant fled to her brother's house in Kirkuk where she stayed for two and a half months and then left Iraq with her remaining sons and her daughter, travelling overland to the United Kingdom.


The judge heard evidence from the appellant and her eldest son. He accepted that the appellant's husband worked for the Americans as an interpreter. Although he expressed concerns about the appellant's evidence in respect of the claimed grenade attack and the incident in which her husband and eldest son were killed, he accepted that the appellant had lost her husband and oldest son in a violent attack and also that her second oldest son had disappeared. Despite the concerns expressed at paragraph 15(i) of the determination about the evidence concerning the claimed grenade attack, the judge appears at paragraph 15(m) to have accepted that the attack occurred. However the judge went on in that sub-paragraph to say that the problem for the appellant was that she could not discharge the burden of proving a causal nexus between a grenade attack on her house, the death of her husband and oldest son almost a year later and the kidnapping of another child some time after that. He commented that the appellant could not reliably say that the same person or group was behind each such attack. The background materials quite clearly disclosed that Iraq was a troubled country visited by violence every day and there was therefore force in the respondent's submission that the appellant's family had been the unfortunate victims of random acts of violence. The appellant had not led any evidence that she had been specifically targeted by a person or group. There was an absence in her evidence of any mention of warnings, threats or declarations of responsibility for any of the attacks. Nor had there been any request for a ransom for her son who had been kidnapped. Given her inability to identify an agent of persecution responsible for the acts which the judge accepted had happened, and without having given evidence of being specific targets for that persecution, the appellant had not shown that she had a well-founded fear of persecution for a Convention reason. The judge went on to dismiss the appeal in respect of humanitarian protection and human rights issues. Further relevant points to note are the appellant's response at question 121 at interview when she was asked where her brother to whom she fled for a period of some two months after the kidnapping lived, and she said it was in Hasiraka and this was two streets away from her home. Hasiraka is an area of Kirkuk. It is also relevant to note that in the screening interview the appellant said that the agent was arranged by her brother and she did not know how much was paid and she refers to the brother Hasan Salih as being a very wealthy businessman in Iraq who had arranged everything. Further relevant aspects of her evidence are that the appellant is illiterate; her back was injured in the grenade attack; she arrived in the United Kingdom with no documents, she has had contact with her brother since she came to the United Kingdom, in that he sent, to the address at which she still lives, photographs, but she says she is no longer able to contact him on the number that she had for him and either it no longer works or he has left; she cannot say where he is; she has a sister in Iraq, but has had no contact with her sister since she came to the United Kingdom. The Senior Immigration Judge who ordered reconsideration in 2009 commented that the events described by the appellant were capable of a finding of specific targeting and it was contended that the judge had erred in finding that they were random acts of violence in the circumstances and it was perhaps unnecessary in those circumstances to identify the precise identity of the agent of persecution. In any event it was agreed that there were errors in respect of the judge's findings on Article 15(c) of the Qualification Directive.

Country Guidance

It was subsequently decided that this would be an appropriate case for country guidance and it was directed on 30 September 2011 that the case would provide country guidance on the issue of relocation for women with children in Iraq, and whether an individual was required to return to his/her home area in order to transfer/obtain documents and food rations. In the event, due to the volume of evidence provided and the ways in which argument before us developed, we have, with the agreement of the representatives, found it possible to provide guidance on several other issues (see paragraph 88 below).

The Relevant Documents

In many respects this case is concerned with documents: how to obtain them, how to renew them, what use can be made of them. It is important therefore at the outset that...

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