DM (Sufficiency of Protection _ PSG _ Women _Domestic Violence) Albania CG  UKIAT 00059
Date of hearing: 15 March 2004
Date Determination notified: 1 April 2004
|Secretary of State for the Home Department
"You claim to have ended a relationship with your former boyfriend in August 1999 but he refused to accept the relationship was over and began to harass you and your family. You state you reported these incidents of harassments to the police but the police would not take any action because they considered it a personal matter. You claim your former boyfriend became worse after you met your current husband, ordering you to leave him or he would kill you and your family. You state that in March 2002 you were knocked off your bike by a car driven by your former boyfriend and while you were lying on the floor he approached you and threatened to kill you next time. You claim that you reported the incident to the police and he was arrested but was released the following day. You state that following this incident you went to your uncle's home in Tirana but your former boyfriend followed you and continued to threaten you. You claim that fearing for your life you fled Albania."
"I was taken to hospital by my father and immediately thereafter we reported the incident to the local police station. Apparently my ex-boyfriend was arrested that same evening but we learned on the following week the police would not take any action against him because, according to them, my ex-boyfriend was with a passenger at the time and both of them had given statements to the effect that I fell over because I had lost control of my bicycle and that his car did not hit me or my bicycle."
"the complainant's allegations are mainly non-serious and are considered personal in nature which do not warrant the police intervention. The citizen Desara Shpuza is protected under the law like all citizens and the police cannot provide her any additional protection which exceeded the ability or resource of the police department to so provide."
"Generalisations about the position of women in particular countries are out of place in regard to issues of refugee status. Everything depends on the evidence and findings of fact in the particular case. On the findings of fact and unchallenged evidence in the present case, the position of women in Pakistan is as follows…"
He then goes on to consider the specific situation in Pakistan at the date of the hearing before their Lordships. The distinctive features which he notes are that women are unprotected by the state and that discrimination against women in Pakistan is partly tolerated by the state and partly sanctioned by the state. This arises in particular under the statutory provisions in Pakistan which were accepted explicitly to discriminate against women as, for example, in some cases allowing only the evidence of men to be heard and not of women, and that the Zena Ordinance had eroded women's rights and denied them equal protection by the law. There was specific evidence that arrests made under the Zena Ordinance could be made without a magistrate first investigating whether there was any basis for the charge and issuing a warrant so that women in Pakistan have often been held under that Ordinance for years although no evidence had ever been produced that they had committed any offence. It was found that men frequently brought charges against their former wives, daughters or sisters in order to prevent them marrying or re-marrying against the man's wishes and that most women remained in gaol for two to three years before their cases were decided, often on the basis of no evidence of any offence.
"The US State Department and CIPU reports confirm that violence against women remains a serious problem and that the police response is lax. Trafficking in women is a problem and police corruption and involvement is an issue. Again, this police behaviour is significant when considering the sufficiency of protection in this case. The fact that Albanian women are unable to access effective protection because of the discriminatory attitudes of men results in a causal nexus between the Convention reason and the harm suffered, as here where the appellant's complaints were not treated seriously by the police - as in Shah & Islam."
With all respect to the Adjudicator it seems to us that he has gravely misunderstood the effect of Shah & Islam in that rather generalised approach which does not suggest any active undermining of the position of women in Albania by the provisions of the law. We do not therefore consider that his finding that the respondent forms part of a particular social group for refugee protection purposes in Albania is sustainable.