AM and AM (Armed Conflict: Risk Categories) Somalia CG: AIT 1 Dec 2008

AIT 1. When considering the question of whether a person is eligible for refugee protection on the basis of exposure to armed conflict, Adan [1998] 2 WLR 702 does not permit decision makers to reject their claims per se.
2. A person may be able to succeed in a claim to protection based on poor socio-economic or dire humanitarian living conditions under the Refugee Convention or Article 15 of the Qualification Directive or Article 3, although to succeed on this basis alone the circumstances would have to be extremely unusual.
3. In the context of Article 15(c) the serious and individual threat involved does not have to be a direct effect of the indiscriminate violence; it is sufficient if the latter is an operative cause.
4. The Opinion of the Advocate General in Elgafaji, 9 September 2008 in Case C-465/07, BAILII: [2008] EUECJ C-465/07 – O, does not afford an adequately reasoned basis for departing from the guidance given on the law in the reported cases of the Tribunal on Article 15(c), namely HH and others (Mogadishu: armed conflict: risk) Somalia CG [2008] UKAIT 00022 and KH (Article 15(c) Qualification Directive) Iraq CG [2008] UKAIT 00023.
5. Before the Tribunal will take seriously a challenge to the historic validity of a Tribunal country guidance case, it would need submissions which seek to adduce all relevant evidence, for or against, the proposed different view. The historic validity of the guidance given in HH is confirmed.
6. However, as regards the continuing validity of the guidance given in HH, the Tribunal considers that there have been significant changes in the situation in central and southern Somalia, such that the country guidance in that case is superseded to the following extent:
(i)There is now an internal armed conflict within the meaning of international humanitarian law (IHL) and Article 15(c) of the Refugee Qualification Directive throughout central and southern Somalia, not just in and around Mogadishu. The armed conflict taking place in Mogadishu currently amounts to indiscriminate violence at such a level of severity as to place the great majority of the population at risk of a consistent pattern of indiscriminate violence. On the present evidence Mogadishu is no longer safe as a place to live in for the great majority of returnees whose home area is Mogadishu;
(ii) Assessment of the extent to which internally displaced persons (IDPs) face greater or lesser hardships, at least outside Mogadishu (where security considerations are particularly grave,) will vary significantly depending on a number of factors;
(iii) For those whose home area is not Mogadishu, they will not in general be able to show a real risk of persecution or serious harm or ill treatment simply on the basis that they are a civilian or even a civilian internally displaced person (IDP) and from such and such a home area, albeit much will depend on the precise state of the background evidence relating to their home area at the date of decision or hearing;
(iv) As regards internal relocation, whether those whose home area is Mogadishu (or any other part of central and southern Somalia) will be able to relocate in safety and without undue hardship will depend on the evidence as to the general circumstances in the relevant parts of central and southern Somalia and the personal circumstances of the applicant. Whether or not it is likely that relocation will mean that they have to live for a substantial period in an IDP camp, will be an important but not necessarily a decisive factor;
(v) As a result of the current conflict between the TFG/Ethiopians and the insurgents, the Sheikhal clan (including the Sheikhal Logobe), by virtue of the hostile attitude taken towards them by Al Shabab, is less able to secure protection for its members than previously, although both as regards their risk of persecution and serious harm and their protection much will depend on the particular circumstances of any individual clan member’s case.
7. Where a particular route and method of return is implicit in an immigration decision it is within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal to deal with issues of en route safety on return: see AG (Somalia) [2006] EWCA Civ 1342. But in the context of Somali appeals currently, the method of return is far too uncertain and so any opinion the Tribunal expresses on such issues can only be given on an obiter basis.

[2008] UKAIT 00091
England and Wales


Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.278546