Upper Tribunal (Immigration and asylum chamber), 2014-10-03, [2014] UKUT 442 (IAC) (MOJ & Ors (Return to Mogadishu) (CG))

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
JudgeThe President, The Hon. Mr Justice McCloskey, Upper Tribunal Judge Storey, Upper Tribunal Judge Southern
Date03 October 2014
Published date20 October 2014
Hearing Date09 September 2014
CourtUpper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber)
Subject MatterReturn to Mogadishu) (CG
Appeal Number[2014] UKUT 442 (IAC)

Upper Tribunal

(Immigration and Asylum Chamber)

MOJ & Ors (Return to Mogadishu) Somalia CG [2014] UKUT 00442 (IAC)


Heard at Field House, London

Determination Promulgated

On 10, 11, 12, 13, 25 February and 9 September 2014



The President, the Hon. Mr Justice McCloskey

Upper Tribunal Judge Storey

Upper Tribunal Judge Southern







(Anonymity order made)


For the Appellant MOJ: Mr M. Gill QC and Mr A. Pretzell (of Counsel), instructed by Duncan Lewis and Company, Solicitors

For the Appellant MAA: Ms S. Panagiotopoulou (of Counsel), instructed by Trott and Gentry LLP

For the Appellant SSM: Mr R. Toal and Ms G Loughran (both of Counsel), instructed by Wilson Solicitors LLP

For the Respondent: Mr B. Rawat (of Counsel), instructed by the Treasury Solicitor and Mr I. Jarvis (Senior Home Office Presenting Officer)


  1. The operation of the Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber Guidance Note no. 2 of 2011, “Reporting Decisions of the Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber” and, particularly, [11] thereof, does not render the process of composition of country guidance decisions procedurally unfair.

  1. As a general principle, where attendance of an appellant is a prerequisite to the vindication of the person’s right to a fair hearing, the appellant must be present.


  1. The country guidance issues addressed in this determination are not identical to those engaged with by the Tribunal in AMM and others (conflict; humanitarian crisis; returnees; FGM) Somalia CG [2011] UKUT 445 (IAC). Therefore, where country guidance has been given by the Tribunal in AMM in respect of issues not addressed in this determination then the guidance provided by AMM shall continue to have effect.

  1. Generally, a person who is “an ordinary civilian” (i.e. not associated with the security forces; any aspect of government or official administration or any NGO or international organisation) on returning to Mogadishu after a period of absence will face no real risk of persecution or risk of harm such as to require protection under Article 3 of the ECHR or Article 15(c) of the Qualification Directive. In particular, he will not be at real risk simply on account of having lived in a European location for a period of time of being viewed with suspicion either by the authorities as a possible supporter of Al Shabaab or by Al Shabaab as an apostate or someone whose Islamic integrity has been compromised by living in a Western country.

  1. There has been durable change in the sense that the Al Shabaab withdrawal from Mogadishu is complete and there is no real prospect of a re-established presence within the city. That was not the case at the time of the country guidance given by the Tribunal in AMM.

  1. The level of civilian casualties, excluding non-military casualties that clearly fall within Al Shabaab target groups such as politicians, police officers, government officials and those associated with NGOs and international organisations, cannot be precisely established by the statistical evidence which is incomplete and unreliable. However, it is established by the evidence considered as a whole that there has been a reduction in the level of civilian casualties since 2011, largely due to the cessation of confrontational warfare within the city and Al Shabaab’s resort to asymmetrical warfare on carefully selected targets. The present level of casualties does not amount to a sufficient risk to ordinary civilians such as to represent an Article 15(c) risk.

  1. It is open to an ordinary citizen of Mogadishu to reduce further still his personal exposure to the risk of “collateral damage” in being caught up in an Al Shabaab attack that was not targeted at him by avoiding areas and establishments that are clearly identifiable as likely Al Shabaab targets, and it is not unreasonable for him to do so.

  1. There is no real risk of forced recruitment to Al Shabaab for civilian citizens of Mogadishu, including for recent returnees from the West.

  1. A person returning to Mogadishu after a period of absence will look to his nuclear family, if he has one living in the city, for assistance in re-establishing himself and securing a livelihood. Although a returnee may also seek assistance from his clan members who are not close relatives, such help is only likely to be forthcoming for majority clan members, as minority clans may have little to offer.

  1. The significance of clan membership in Mogadishu has changed. Clans now provide, potentially, social support mechanisms and assist with access to livelihoods, performing less of a protection function than previously. There are no clan militias in Mogadishu, no clan violence, and no clan based discriminatory treatment, even for minority clan members.

  1. If it is accepted that a person facing a return to Mogadishu after a period of absence has no nuclear family or close relatives in the city to assist him in re-establishing himself on return, there will need to be a careful assessment of all of the circumstances. These considerations will include, but are not limited to:

  • circumstances in Mogadishu before departure;

  • length of absence from Mogadishu;

  • family or clan associations to call upon in Mogadishu;

  • access to financial resources;

  • prospects of securing a livelihood, whether that be employment or self employment;

  • availability of remittances from abroad;

  • means of support during the time spent in the United Kingdom;

  • why his ability to fund the journey to the West no longer enables an appellant to secure financial support on return.

  1. Put another way, it will be for the person facing return to explain why he would not be able to access the economic opportunities that have been produced by the economic boom, especially as there is evidence to the effect that returnees are taking jobs at the expense of those who have never been away.

  1. It will, therefore, only be those with no clan or family support who will not be in receipt of remittances from abroad and who have no real prospect of securing access to a livelihood on return who will face the prospect of living in circumstances falling below that which is acceptable in humanitarian protection terms.

  1. The evidence indicates clearly that it is not simply those who originate from Mogadishu that may now generally return to live in the city without being subjected to an Article 15(c) risk or facing a real risk of destitution. On the other hand, relocation in Mogadishu for a person of a minority clan with no former links to the city, no access to funds and no other form of clan, family or social support is unlikely to be realistic as, in the absence of means to establish a home and some form of ongoing financial support there will be a real risk of having no alternative but to live in makeshift accommodation within an IDP camp where there is a real possibility of having to live in conditions that will fall below acceptable humanitarian standards.



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Right to attend a hearing


Country Guidance Judgments


Duties of expert witnesses


Legal Framework


The law relating to Art 15(c) of the Qualification Directive


Law relating to Article 3 of the ECHR


Review of case law concerning Somalia


The Evidence



Introductory comments concerning the expert evidence


Dr Mullen’s evidence


Dr Hoehne’s evidence


Ms Harper’s evidence


The submissions of the parties:


On behalf of the respondent


On behalf of MOJ


On behalf of MAA


On behalf of SSM




Significance of...

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