COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)
ON APPEAL FROM THE IMMIGRATION APPEAL TRIBUNAL
Thursday, 10th May 2001
B e f o r e :
LORD JUSTICE TUCKEY
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|THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT||Respondent|
Smith Bernal Reporting Limited
190 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2AG
Telephone No: 020 7421 4040
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Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
MISS E LAING (instructed by Treasury Solicitor, London SW1H 9JS) appeared on behalf of the Respondent
Crown Copyright ©
Thursday, 10th May 2001
"The term "refugee" shall apply to any person who... owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, unwilling, to avail himself of the protection of that country."
"In summary the appellant seeks asylum because of the racial attacks that both his wife and himself have suffered. His wife was attacked by a group of skinheads while she was shopping, she being pregnant at the time and the subsequent child who was born suffering kidney problems. This attack was reported to the police but the appellant is of the view that the police were not interested in pursuing an investigation being of the view that the wife had probably fallen.
The appellant himself worked on a building site and suffered racial abuse from skinheads at that venue. He was able to run away on these occasions. However, in June of last year he was attacked and suffered personal injury including the loss of two teeth, and a cut face. He says he reported this matter to the police but the officer took no notice and said that the appellant had no proof he was beaten.
He says that the skinheads were still waiting for him at his place of employment following this attack and despite going to the police to make a further complaint he is of the view that they have told him that they, the police, were not going to stand there and protect him as they, the police, had work to do."
"I find as a fact that the appellant is a credible witness and find as a fact that all of which he told me in his witness statement was the truth. However, I find as a fact that the attack which took place upon the appellant, and the attack which took place upon his wife, and the racial abuse which he claims to have suffered from the skinheads does not either individually or in the aggregate constitute persecution as defined in the leading cases. For example, deriving from Sandralingham and Ravichandran, I am of the view that persecution must at least be persistent and serious ill-treatment without just cause by the State or from which the State can provide protection but chooses not to do so. Here, I find that the human rights abuse which the appellant and his wife have suffered do not constitute persistent and serious ill-treatment. Without wishing to minimise the seriousness of the attacks, I am faced with evidence of one attack causing personal injury to the appellant and one attack causing personal injury to his wife and instances of racial abuse which have not been further or better particularised before me. Accordingly, I disagree with the appellant's representative and find that this appellant has not crossed the threshold which separates racial abuse and discrimination from persecution."
"At this point we adjourned in order to consider the submissions made thus far. We stated to Mr O'Ryan"
- who was the advocate for the appellant -
"that we did not need to hear from him further since we were not persuaded that he had shown that the evidence properly led to the conclusion that the appellant had shown a risk that he would be treated in the same way again and therefore questions of whether what he suffered was persecution or would be and the question of protection if he suffered the same again did not properly arise."
"The fact of that one attack does not make him more likely to suffer similar attacks in the future than would be the case if he had not been attacked."
"10. ... O'Ryan suggested to us that the appellant was more at risk because of increased violence to the Roma community in the Czech Republic. For example, he took us to paragraph 8 at page 106 of the bundle referring to a recorded six-fold increase in racially motivated crimes between 1994 and 1996. That was several years ago however, and in our view can not be taken as indicative of an increased threat to this appellant at this time. Mr O'Ryan also referred us to paragraph 19 at page 42 of the bundle. The Czech Documentation Centre for Human Rights has stated that as of 30 September 1999 there were 1,781 racially or idealogically motivated crimes committed in the Czech Republic since 1990. 830 of these were violent attacks, the remainder being verbal. In 22 cases, the victim died as a result of the attack. 390 attacks in 1998 are said to represent a significant increase from previous years. It is the case however that we are dealing with an appellant who suffered an attack in 1999. We do not have evidence before us to show significant increases continuing from either the 1994 to 1996 period or the 1998 period as indicative of a significantly increased threat.
11. At the end of the day therefore the appellant is a man who in the 29 years of his life in Czech Republic has suffered one attack which appears to have been on account of his Roma ethnic origin. He has otherwise been subjected to harassment. His experiences must be taken as a whole, and we cannot ignore the significance of the fact that he has been the victim of only one such attack, however regrettable that of course is, during those 29 years. We find it impossible to extrapolate from that and the general situation of the Roma in the Czech Republic a reasonable degree of likelihood of repetition of such events in the future. Mr O'Ryan argued that the appellant was vulnerable because he worked in a trade where many Roma worked, but again he had worked in that trade for more than ten years and had only been subject to one attack. We do not find ourselves at all persuaded by the argument that the fact of one attack puts him particularly at risk in the future. Nor do we find that the degree of increase of hostility and violence towards the Roma community in the Czech Republic in the general sense in which that has developed is such as to entail a reasonable degree of likelihood that this appellant is at serious risk of persecution if returned to the Czech Republic.
12. This appeal is accordingly dismissed."
"There is no clear finding as to whether the police in action complained of arose in each case from lack of evidence or lack of will. The tribunal may wish to consider whether police in action in an individual case such as this can ever be sufficient evidence of lack of protection nationally and if not to consider whether there is any general evidence to show a lack of national protection for gypsies in the Czech Republic."