Upper Tribunal (Immigration and asylum chamber), 2014-07-14, [2014] UKUT 318 (IAC) (AT and Others (Article 15c; risk categories) (CG))


Upper Tribunal

(Immigration and Asylum Chamber)

AT and Others (Article 15c; risk categories) Libya CG [2014] UKUT 00318 (IAC)


Heard at Field House

Determination Promulgated

On 18-22 November 2013










(anonymity order made)






First Appellant: Mr J. Ficklin Counsel, instructed by Jackson Canter Solicitors

Second Appellant: Ms G. Patel Counsel, instructed by Jackson Canter Solicitors

Third and fourth Appellants: Ms. S Harrison, Solicitor, Halliday Reeves Law

For the Respondent: Mr R. Palmer, Counsel and Mr R. Harland, Counsel, instructed by Treasury Solicitors


Country guidance

(1) In the aftermath of the armed revolution that brought about the fall of the dictatorial and repressive regime of Colonel Qadhafi, the central government in Libya has relied on various militias to undertake security and policing functions. Those militias and the many others that operate within Libya, often have their own interests, loyalties and priorities which may or may not coincide with the interests of the central government.

Article 15(c)

(2) There is not such a high level of indiscriminate violence in Libya, within the meaning of Article 15(c) of Council Directive 2004/83/EC ("the Qualification Directive") so as to mean that substantial grounds exist for believing that an individual would, solely by being present there, face a real risk which threatens his or her life or person.

Former regime members and associates

(3) Having regard to the generally hostile attitude of society to the former regime, the following are, in general, at real risk of persecution or Article 3 ill-treatment on return to Libya: -

(a) former high ranking officials within the intelligence services of that regime;

(b) others with an association at senior level with that regime.

(4) As a general matter, the closer an individual was to the centre of power within the former regime, the more likely that the individual will be able to establish a risk of persecution or Article 3 ill-treatment on return.

(5) The majority of the population of Libya either worked for, had some association with, or has a member of the family who worked for or had an association with the Qadhafi regime. Such employment or association alone is not sufficient to establish a risk of persecution or Article 3 ill-treatment on return.

(6) In general, family members of those described in (3) and (4) above are not at risk of persecution or a breach of their protected rights on return. It is possible, however, that an individual will be able to establish such a risk but this will need to be demonstrated by specific evidence relating to the individual’s circumstances. Mere assertion of risk by association as a family member would not be sufficient without fact-specific evidence of the risk to that particular family member.

Black Libyans etc

(7) A ‘Black Libyan’ is a Libyan of black African appearance, and includes a person who may not actually possess Libyan nationality but for whom Libya is their country of former habitual residence. There is endemic racism within Libyan society towards Black Libyans. However, Black Libyans who are not Tawurga or Tuareg are not per se at risk of persecution or Article 3 ill-treatment on return, and will only be able to establish the need for international protection with reference to some additional factor particular to that individual.

(8) The Tawurga are Black Libyans who are perceived by Libyans to have been mercenaries on the side of the Qadhafi regime and to have committed human rights abuses during the revolution. The Tuareg are also Black Libyans and are also perceived to have been supporters of the former regime.

(9) Whilst there remains a need for an individual assessment of each individual’s circumstances, a person who is Tawurga or Tuareg will in general be able to establish the need for international protection. The same is true of persons from the Mashashiya ethnic or tribal group. The Mashashiya are not Black Libyans but are similarly perceived as a group to have been supporters of the Qadhafi regime.


(10) Whilst Libya is a male-dominated society and there is evidence of discrimination and violence against women and poor recognition of women’s rights, being female does not per se establish a risk on return. However, taking into account all the circumstances, including a woman’s age, health, level of education and economic status, one or more of the following characteristics or factors are likely, depending on the circumstances, to be significant in relation to the assessment of risk on return for a woman:

a) African ethnicity;

b) Being a victim of sexual violence, including having been raped by soldiers loyal to the Qadhafi regime or by other combatants;

c) Being a woman accused or suspected of sexual misdemeanours or offences against family honour.

Failed asylum seekers

(11) Failed asylum seekers are not, for that reason alone, at real risk on return.

Risk at point of return

(12) There is no real risk of harm to the ordinary traveller arriving either at Tripoli international airport or Benghazi airport.

(13) However, a person who has established that they come within one of the risk categories set out at (3), (4), (9) and (10) above, will be at risk from government security forces or from militias, on arrival at Tripoli International Airport, on account of information that is required to be given by passengers on arrival.

Risk following return

(14) Even if a person described in (13) above is able to pass through the airport without being detained, because of the presence of militias at various checkpoints such a person is reasonably likely to be detained at a checkpoint en route to his or her home area.

(15) Notwithstanding the prevalence of checkpoints manned by militias, it is possible to travel overland from Tripoli airport to other destinations without a real risk of persecution, serious harm or Article 3 ill-treatment. Land travel in general is possible and can be undertaken without giving rise to a risk of harm that requires recognition in terms of international protection. The evidence does not reveal such a level of arbitrary or irrational conduct on the part of militias at checkpoints such as to put the ordinary traveller at real risk. A claim to international protection is unlikely to succeed simply on the basis of a claimed risk of travel to any particular area of Libya. Area specific evidence would have to be adduced which establishes such a risk.

(16) The ‘family book’ is the main proof of citizenship, listing family members and being required, for example, to obtain employment or a bank loan. However, the fact that a person does not possess a ‘family book’ would not prevent travel within Libya and the lack of a family book would not itself give rise to a risk of harm.

Sufficiency of protection

(17) In general, an individual who succeeds in establishing a real risk of harm by reference to the risk categories set out at (3), (4), (9) and (10) above, will not be afforded a sufficiency of protection from that harm.

Internal relocation

(18) Likewise, such individuals would not, in general, have available to them the option of internal relocation.

(19) For persons who have established a real risk of proscribed ill-treatment in their home area for a reason other than by reference to one of the categories set out above, for example because of a family or tribal feud, or because of hostility from a particular militia, it is possible to be able safely to travel from one part of Libya to another, depending on whether the reason for the risk is one that would give rise to further risk for that same reason, on encountering a checkpoint.

(20) A male seeking to avoid a local risk of harm such as described in (19) above, would be able in practical terms to relocate to another area of Libya, be it for example Tripoli or Benghazi, particularly if the person has tribal or family connections there. The absence of such connections would not prevent the person from establishing himself, in the sense of being...

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