New iraq country information notes current key considerations in claims for humanitarian protection uk immigration justice watch blog gas outage


An updated Country Information Note on Iraq has now been published: Country policy and information note: security and humanitarian situation, Iraq, November 2018, Version 5.0, 19 November 2018. This is to be considered in conjunction with the Note published last month: Country policy and information note: internal relocation, civil documentation and returns, Iraq, October 2018.

Since 2015 the international humanitarian response has contracted significantly overall, although it has expanded into some areas as Anbar, Kirkuk, Ninewah and Salah al-Din have become newly accessible. Support efforts concentrate on the most vulnerable. electricity song Efforts in Mosul have been significant, with a million people now being helped in the city.

In general, the humanitarian situation is not so severe that a person is likely to face a breach of Articles 15(a) and (b) of the Qualification Directive / Articles 2 and 3 of the ECHR, requiring a grant of Humanitarian Protection (HP). However, decision makers must consider each case on its merits. There may be cases where a combination of circumstances means that a person will face a breach of Articles 15(a) and/or (b) of the Qualification Directive/Articles 2 and 3 of the ECHR on return. In assessing whether an individual case reaches this threshold, Home Office decision makers must consider:

• According to the IOM, as of August 2018 nearly 4 million people have returned to their home areas, a continuing upward trend, particularly to Ninewah, Anbar, Salah al-Din and Kirkuk, explained by improvements in the security situation, although there is some secondary displacement. Return trends are stable in Baghdad, Diyala and Erbil. The vast majority of returnees have gone back to their old homes.

• There are some gaps in humanitarian assistance. The UN Humanitarian Response Plan has targeted about 40% of those in humanitarian need. REACH reported that the vast majority of returnee and host community households in accessible areas reported that they have not received humanitarian assistance (although this does not mean that all of those who reported this have been defined as those needing such assistance).

• A claim for protection based on indiscriminate violence must be assessed by applying the test set out in (QD (Iraq) v SSHD [2009] EWCA Civ 620): “Is there in [country] or a material part of it such a high level of indiscriminate violence that substantial grounds exist for believing that an applicant would, solely by being present there, face a real risk which threatens their life or person?”

• In AA (Article 15(c)) (Rev 1) Iraq CG [2015] UKUT 544 (IAC) (30 September 2015), the Upper Tribunal found, based on evidence up to May 2015, that the degree of armed conflict in Iraq did engage Article 15(c) in Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk (aka Tam’in), Ninewah, Salah al-Din; and the parts of the ‘Baghdad Belt(s)’ (the urban environs around Baghdad City) that border Anbar, Diyala and Salah al-Din (paragraph 204).

• However, since 2015, Daesh’s territorial control has collapsed and their operational capability has significantly degraded. The Iraqi government officially declared victory against Daesh in December 2017. The threat from Daesh has not disappeared entirely, but the group are confined to small pockets and the conflict has changed in nature from open conflict to periodic assymetric attacks by Daesh in Anbar, Baghdad, Diyala, Kirkuk, Ninewah and Salah al Din.

• The Home Office therefore conclude that there are strong grounds supported by cogent evidence to depart from AA(2015)’s assessment that any areas of Iraq engage the high threshold of Article 15(c). This is however not to say that the security situation is no longer serious; it is that there is no longer a high level indiscriminate violence anywhere in Iraq such that substantial grounds exist for believing that an applicant would, solely by being present there, face a real risk which threatens their life or person.

The Upper Tribunal in AA(2015) found: ‘The Iraqi authorities will allow an Iraqi national (P) in the United Kingdom to enter Iraq only … [the person] is in possession of a current or expired Iraqi passport relating to … [the person], or a laissez passer’ (paragraph 204 (5)) and that: ‘No Iraqi national will be returnable to Baghdad if not in possession of one of these documents.’ (para 204(6).

b. obtain support from family members or others is likely to face significant difficulties in accessing services and humanitarian conditions which are likely to result in destitution sufficient to amount to a breach of Article 3 of the ECHR / Article 15(b) of the QD. electricity laws uk In these circumstances a grant of Humanitarian Protection (HP) will be appropriate.

• claiming they are at real risk of destitution based on their lack of documents then a person has not established a need for protection and Home Office decision makers should consider the Discretionary Leave (DL) policy and if appropriate, grant a person leave, pending future reviews of their ability to feasibly return to Iraq. These are very specific circumstances. Home Office decision makers must explore whether a person can reasonably obtain a travel document before they find that a person’s return is not feasible.

A person who can be feasibly returned, and is at real risk of destitution because of a lack of documents, should be granted HP. It should be noted that this is the case for whatever reason the person’s return becomes feasible. However, it is likely that a person whose return is feasible will be able to obtain a CSID. This is because a passport is a route to an CSID. Alternatively, if a person is returned on a laissez-passer (LP) they may already possess a CSID because the CSID is a route to an LP.

In AA(2015), the Upper Tribunal found: ‘As a general matter, it will not be unreasonable or unduly harsh for a person from a contested area [defined as Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, Ninewah, Salah alDin and certain parts of the ‘Baghdad Belts’ (the urban environs surrounding the city), specifically the parts bordering Anbar, Diyala and Sala al-Din] to relocate to Baghdad City or….[certain parts of] the Baghdad Belts [not the parts described above]’ (paragraph 204 (14)).

If applicable, Home Office decision makers must determine whether a person can obtain documentation (in particular, the Civil Status ID (CSID). ortega y gasset Decision makers are required to note that obtaining Iraqi civil and travel documentation can be complex and circular. For example, to obtain a passport a person needs a CSID, but they can also use a passport in support of an application for a CSID.

In AA(2015), the Upper Tribunal found: ‘The evidence does not demonstrate that the “Central Archive”, which exists in Baghdad, is in practice able to provide CSIDs to those in need of them. electricity outage austin There is, however, a National Status Court in Baghdad, to which [a person] … could apply for formal recognition of identity. The precise operation of this court is, however, unclear.’ (paragraph 204 (13). However, in October 2018, the Iraqi Embassy noted that ‘there is a central register back up in Baghdad that includes all the civil records of all the provenances [sic] in the event of any form of damages or destruction. This civil registration backup (Microfilm) covers all records from 1957.

In AA(2015), the Upper Tribunal found that the assessment of whether a person would be at risk of destitution because of a lack of a CSID should only be made if return was feasible. However, this position was reversed by the AA (Iraq) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWCA Civ 944 (11 July 2017) (Annex: C 9). Home Office decision makers must now assess the risk arising from a lack of a CSID regardless of ‘feasibility of return’ (whether a person can be returned or not).

The Upper Tribunal in AAH(2018)found: ‘[A person] … is unable to board a domestic flight between Baghdad and the IKR without either a CSID or a valid passport.’ (paragraph 135 (4). In a letter dated 5 September 2018, the Iraqi Ambassador to the United Kingdom confirmed that a laissez passer or a ‘certification letter’ can be used to board a domestic flight at Baghdad International Airport (BGW). The Home Office believes that as this is official confirmation relating to airport procedures this evidence amounts to very strong grounds supported by cogent evidence to depart from AAH(2018)’s finding explained at paragraph 135(4).

A letter from the Iraqi Embassy dated 2 October 2018 confirmed that the ‘same procedures are applied to all the returnees onward travel from Baghdad to KRG [Kurdistan Regional Government] or any city in Iraq’ and that: ‘Representatives from the repatriation committee would be available at Baghdad International Airport and ready to receive a returnee.

Previously the KRG authorities had responsibility for immigration; this is now centralised with the authorities in Baghdad deciding on immigration matters for the whole of Iraq. gas pain in shoulder Former residents of the KRI who do not return voluntarily are returned to Baghdad, from where they will travel to their destination. Those who are prepared to obtain a travel document can return to the KRI voluntarily, to either Erbil or Sulamaniyah, without having to transit Baghdad.

In the Country Guidance case, AAH (Iraqi Kurds – internal relocation) (CG) [2018] UKUT 212 (IAC) (26 June 2018) heard on 27-28 February 2018 (hereafter ‘AAH Iraq’), the Upper Tribunal examined the humanitarian situation in the KRI and specific findings about internal relocation. The Upper Tribunal found as follows as summarised in the Headnote:

• Whether P has any other form of documentation, or information about the location of his entry in the civil register. An INC, passport, birth/marriage certificates or an expired CSID would all be of substantial assistance. For someone in possession of one or more of these documents the process should be straightforward. A laissez-passer should not be counted for these purposes: these can be issued without any other form of ID being available, are not of any assistance in ‘tracing back’ to the family record and are confiscated upon arrival at Baghdad;

• Are there male family members who would be able and willing to attend the civil registry with P? Because the registration system is patrilineal it will be relevant to consider whether the relative is from the mother or father’s side. A maternal uncle in possession of his CSID would be able to assist in locating the original place of registration of the individual’s mother, and from there the trail would need to be followed to the place that her records were transferred upon marriage. gas in stomach It must also be borne in mind that a significant number of IDPs in Iraq are themselves undocumented; if that is the case it is unlikely that they could be of assistance. A woman without a male relative to assist with the process of redocumentation would face very significant obstacles in that officials may refuse to deal with her case at all.

• For an Iraqi national returnee (P) of Kurdish origin in possession of a valid CSID or Iraqi passport, the journey from Baghdad to the IKR, whether by air or land, is affordable and practical and can be made without a real risk of P suffering persecution, serious harm, Article 3 ill treatment nor would any difficulties on the journey make relocation unduly harsh.

• P will face considerable difficulty in making the journey between Baghdad and the IKR by land without a CSID or valid passport. There are numerous checkpoints en route, including two checkpoints in the immediate vicinity of the airport. If P has neither a CSID nor a valid passport there is a real risk of P being detained at a checkpoint until such time as the security personnel are able to verify P’s identity. It is not reasonable to require P to travel between Baghdad and IKR by land absent the ability of P to verify his identity at a checkpoint. This normally requires the attendance of a male family member and production of P’s identity documents but may also be achieved by calling upon “connections” higher up in the chain of command.

• Whether P would be at particular risk of ill-treatment during the security screening process must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Additional factors that may increase risk include: (i) coming from a family with a known association with ISIL, (ii) coming from an area associated with ISIL and (iii) being a single male of fighting age. P is likely to be able to evidence the fact of recent arrival from the UK, which would dispel any suggestion of having arrived directly from ISIL territory.

• If P has family members living in the IKR cultural norms would require that family to accommodate P. In such circumstances P would, in general, have sufficient assistance from the family so as to lead a ‘relatively normal life’, which would not be unduly harsh. current electricity examples It is nevertheless important for decision-makers to determine the extent of any assistance likely to be provided by P’s family on a case by case basis.

• P could resort to a ‘critical shelter arrangement’, living in an unfinished or abandoned structure, makeshift shelter, tent, mosque, church or squatting in a government building. It would be unduly harsh to require P to relocate to the IKR if P will live in a critical housing shelter without access to basic necessities such as food, clean water and clothing;

• In considering whether P would be able to access basic necessities, account must be taken of the fact that failed asylum seekers are entitled to apply for a grant under the Voluntary Returns Scheme, which could give P access to £1500. Consideration should also be given to whether P can obtain financial support from other sources such as (a) employment, (b) remittances from relatives abroad, (c) the availability of ad hoc charity or by being able to access PDS rations.