M.A.A. v Refugee Appeals Tribunal

JurisdictionIreland
CourtHigh Court
JudgeMr. Justice Barr
Judgment Date02 Oct 2014
Neutral Citation[2014] IEHC 492

[2014] IEHC 492

THE HIGH COURT

[No. 382 J.R./2010]
A (MA) v Refugee Appeals Tribunal & Min for Justice
JUDICIAL REVIEW
IN THE MATTER OF AN APPLICATION PURSUANT TO SECTION 5 OF THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS (TRAFFICKING) ACT 2000

BETWEEN

M. A. A.
APPLICANT

AND

REFUGEE APPEALS TRIBUNAL AND MINISTER FOR JUSTICE, EQUALITY AND LAW REFORM
RESPONDENTS

REFUGEE ACT 1996 S13

REFUGEE ACT 1996 S16(2)

N (AM) v REFUGEE APPEALS TRIBUNAL & MIN FOR JUSTICE UNREP MCDERMOTT 3.8.2012 2012/33/9613 2012 IEHC 393

E (P) [RWANDA] v REFUGEE APPEALS TRIBUNAL UNREP CLARK 5.6.2013 2013/18/5233 2013 IEHC 253

A (A) v MIN FOR JUSTICE & ORS UNREP MAC EOCHAIDH 18.7.2013 2013/1/21 2013 IEHC 355

REFUGEE ACT 1996 S17(7)

R (I) v MIN FOR JUSTICE & REFUGEE APPEALS TRIBUNAL UNREP COOKE 24.7.2009 2009/47/11866 2009 IEHC 353

M (N) [TOGO] v REFUGEE APPEALS TRIBUNAL (LINEHAN) & MIN FOR JUSTICE UNREP CLARK 16.9.2013 2013/31/9168 2013 IEHC 436

K (M) [PAKISTAN] v SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPT UNREP 28.10.2013 2013 UKUT 641 (IAC)

S (E) v REFUGEE APPEALS TRIBUNAL UNREP COOKE 15.7.2009 2009/51/12901 2009 IEHC 335

S (R) (A MINOR) v REFUGEE APPEALS TRIBUNAL & MIN FOR JUSTICE UNREP MAC EOCHAIDH 13.2.2014 2014 IEHC 55

KEEGAN & LYSAGHT, STATE v STARDUST VICTIMS COMPENSATION TRIBUNAL 1986 IR 642 1987 ILRM 202

O'KEEFFE v BORD PLEANALA & O'BRIEN 1993 1 IR 39 1992 ILRM 237

BABY O & O (IA) v MIN FOR JUSTICE & ORS 2002 2 IR 169 2003 1 ILRM 241 2002/3/501

H (E) v INFORMATION CMSR 2001 2 IR 463 2001/11/3104

BIEHLER JUDICIAL REVIEW OF ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS 3ED 2013 94

R (HURST) v HM CORONER FOR NORTHERN DISTRICT LONDON 2007 2 AC 189 2007 2 WLR 726 2007 2 AER 1025 2007 UKHL 13

SCROLLSIDE LTD T/A ZED FM v BROADCASTING CMSN OF IRELAND 2007 1 IR 166 2006/52/11006 2006 IESC 24

HEALTH SERVICE EXECUTIVE v INFORMATION CMSR 2009 1 IR 700 2009 1 ILRM 440 2008/28/6216 2008 IEHC 298

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS (TRAFFICKING) ACT 2000 S5

Immigration and asylum – Refugee application – Language analysis – Applicant seeking refugee status – Whether respondent failed to have regard to the language analysis report

Facts: The applicant is of Reer Hamar ethnicity and lived in Somalia in the Yakhshid area of Mogadishu. The applicant claimed that in 1998 his family was attacked by an armed militia. He claimed that he travelled to Ethiopia and then to Yemen, and made his way to Saudi Arabia. A customer whose car he used to wash arranged for the applicant's departure from Saudi Arabia to Ireland in 2008. The applicant stated that having arrived at Dublin Airport, he was taken by the agent and put on a bus to Belfast where he was abandoned. He was arrested on a sea boat and taken to a camp in Belfast where he applied for asylum. The UK authorities had informed the Irish authorities that the Yemeni passport used by the applicant to travel to Ireland was a valid one and that this indicated that the applicant was in fact a national of Yemen. The applicant claimed that he told the authorities that this was not his passport and that he was simply using it to travel to Ireland. The applicant underwent a language analysis interview in 2009 at the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner. The reporting company found that he spoke Somali to the level of a mother tongue speaker in the Reer-Hamar dialect and had good local knowledge of the area. The Refugee Applications Commissioner recommended that the applicant should not be declared a refugee. The applicant appealed this to the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. It was put to the applicant that there was a valid visa attached to this passport for the purposes of entering Ireland to enable the passport bearer to study English. The applicant replied that he was unaware of this. The applicant denied ever having been to Riyadh while he was allegedly living and working illegally in Saudi Arabia. It was put to the applicant that a visa application using the applicant's photograph and signature were submitted to the Irish Embassy in Riyadh. The Tribunal held that the applicant's assertion relating to the passport, to the visa, and to his signature on various documents, was not capable of being believed, upholding the Refugee Applications Commissioner”s decision. The applicant submitted to the High Court that the Tribunal Member erred in concluding that the language analysis report had to be considered in the light of the applicant's overall account and was therefore undermined by the member's findings regarding the applicant's general lack of credibility, relying upon AMN v Refugee Appeals Tribunal [2012] IEHC 393. The applicant submitted that the Tribunal failed to determine all relevant issues in the context of the appeal, namely the core issue of nationality and ethnicity of the applicant, relying upon ES v Refugee Appeals Tribunal [2009] IEHC 335. The applicant submitted that the Tribunal did not at any time refer to the detailed local knowledge shown by the applicant, a fact which if taken into account and considered would have countered the generalised observations made by the Tribunal Member. The respondents submitted that the well-established principles laid down in The State (Keegan) v Stardust Victims Compensation Tribunal [1986] IR 642 applied; it was entirely a matter for the decision maker to assess the weight to be given to the various matters of fact and inferences of law. The respondents noted that the Tribunal Member decided that the language analysis report had to be considered in the light of the applicant's overall account and no one aspect of applicant's claim could be considered in isolation. They submitted that it was quite clear that any decision to remit the matter for reconsideration would not lead to a different conclusion given the unequivocal nature of the Tribunal's findings.

Held by Barr J that the Tribunal did not err in its assessment of the various strands of evidence; the language analysis report was not conclusive of the issues for determination before the RAT in that it did not establish that the applicant was a Somali national, nor did it corroborate his account of leaving home after an attack and his various occupations since that time. Barr J held that the Tribunal Member was entitled to have regard to the evidence from the UK authorities in relation to the passport and the visa being valid, and that it was a matter for her to decide what weight should be attached to the language analysis report.

Barr J accordingly refused the applicant's claim for relief.

Application refused.

Background
1

1. The applicant claims to have been bom on 26 th November, 1985. He is of Reer Hamar ethnicity and lived in Somalia with his parents and five siblings. He lived in the Yakhshid area of Mogadishu. One of his brothers had been missing for three to four years before the applicant left the country.

2

2. The applicant stated that armed militias used to come to his house and attack him and his family. The applicant states that he himself was never physically attacked or threatened, as he was a child.

3

3. The applicant claims that some time in 1998, on a date that he cannot remember, his family was attacked by an armed militia. On this occasion, the militia killed his father and other members of the family. The applicant was shot in the leg and lost consciousness. He states that when he regained consciousness approximately one day later, he was in a pharmacy, where he had been brought by a neighbour. The applicant alleges that one day after regaining consciousness, another neighbour travelled with him on a bus out of Somalia and they went to the border with Ethiopia and there he took another bus which brought him to Addis Ababa. The neighbour apparently brought him to a family which comprised of an elderly woman and a son and her daughter. The applicant lived with them for approximately one year. The applicant states that after approximately one year, the family that he was staying with all decided to leave Ethiopia. They did not bring the applicant with them. The old lady gave the applicant the sum of US$200. He put this money into a safe compartment in his trousers. After this time, he lived on the streets of Addis Ababa for a period of around three years. The applicant states that he did not spend the sum of US$200 which had been given to him but kept it in his secure pocket.

4

4. The applicant claims that although he encountered some "chaotic people" while living on the streets in Ethiopia, no one threatened him directly. He was able to save around US$400 from the proceeds of his begging. He used this money together with the US$200 which had been given to him to travel to Aden in Yemen. The applicant stated that he spent three years in Yemen but he did not apply for asylum there. He did not work but continued to beg on the streets. The applicant gave an account of being enslaved by people from Yemen who had forced the applicant to clean their houses in return for money which was not forthcoming. After three years, the applicant left Yemen and made his way to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

5

5. In Saudi Arabia, the applicant obtained work in a car washing facility. He also used to sleep there on mats which had been left out. He lived in Jeddah for a period of three years.

6

6. A customer whose car the applicant used to wash, arranged for the applicant's departure from Saudi Arabia to Ireland. In return for arranging the applicant's travel, the applicant was asked to pay US$4,000. The applicant stated that he managed to raise this money having received some US$2,000 from relatives of his who lived in Europe who sent the applicant the money and that as a result of his own work he was able to pay the balance of the money.

7

7. The applicant claims that he left Saudi Arabia by plane on the night of 28 th September, 2008. He stopped in an unknown country en route and...

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2 cases
  • M (M S) & S (N A)(A Minor) v Refugee Appeals Tribunal (Brennan) and Others
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 27 March 2015
    ...this was in line with the dictum of Barr J. in M.A.A. v. Refugee Appeals Tribunal & the Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform [2014] IEHC 492. Counsel submitted that the fact of the first named applicant having a Tanzanian passport and that she had been issued with a UK visa on f......
  • H.R.A v Minister for Justice Equality & Law Reform
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 15 August 2016
    ...report was a matter for the Minister, as decision-maker. In so finding, I adopt the dictum of Barr J. in M.A.A. v. RAT & Anor. [2014] IEHC 492, as follows: 'In these circumstances, the Tribunal Member had to weigh the various pieces of evidence including the language analysis report. T......

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