Monday, January 23, 2012

Update on Subsidiary Protection and Somali Claims

Last week we attended a very instructive training on recent developments on Subsidiary Protection (Article 15(c) of the Qualification Directive) and Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). The training was part of a series of masterclasses  by the Irish Refugee Council. 
Colm O'Dwyer BL took the morning session providing a helpful overview of recent developments in Ireland. Ronan Toal, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers in the UK, then shared his specialist knowledge and expertise in the application of subsidiary protection and Article 3 to Somali claims in particular.
A number of recent cases were discussed in the course of the training. Of particular interest was the most recent reported UK case dated 28th November 2011 that considers the situation in southern and central Somalia and claims for protection: AMM and others (conflict; humanitarian crisis; returnees; FGM) Somalia CG. Following the decision of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Sufi & Elmi v the United Kingdom [2011] ECHR 1045, AMM and others provides extensive further country guidance for southern and central Somalia. It is the first reported case in the UK to have found that there was a risk of serious harm to the claimant within the meaning of Article 15(c) in circumstances where there was no such risk arising under Article 15(b) or Article 3 ECHR. Essentially the Court held that a claim for subsidiary protection under Article 15(c) could be made out even in circumstances where there was no breach of Article 3 ECHR.
Ronan Toal also drew attention in the training to the findings in the decision in AMM and Others in relation to a claim under the Refugee Convention. The Court held that a claim for protection on grounds of religious persecution could be made out under the Refugee Convention where an individual was not in a position to comply with the strict al Shabaab religious rules.
These recent developments have implications for Somali asylum applicants who have previously been refused asylum. In light of the dire security and humanitarian situation in southern and central Somalia, a claim for subsidiary protection may be made out. Our own experience is that there continue to be lengthy delays in the Department of Justice determining. Furthermore, applicants for subsidiary protection may now be in a position to submit a new claim for asylum, particularly if they have been out of Somalia for a long period and are in a position to show difficulties they would have conforming with the strict al Shabaab regime.
Brophy Solicitors

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