COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)
ON APPEAL FROM THE QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
The Hon Mr Justice Harrison
IMMIGRATION APPEAL TRIBUNAL
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
LORD JUSTICE KAY
LORD JUSTICE DYSON
| AHSAN ULLAH||Appellant|
|- and -|
THI LIEN DO
- and -
SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT
Monica Carss-Frisk, QC and Lisa Giovannetti (instructed by The Treasury Solicitor for the Respondent)
Manjit S. Gill, QC and Christa Fielden (instructed by Sheikh & Co for the Appellant Do)
Monica Carss-Frisk, QC and Miss Kassie Smith (instructed by The Treasury Solicitor for the Respondent)
Crown Copyright ©
i) Lord Phillips, MR :
This is the judgment of the Court.
"Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
2. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."
Mr Ullah's Appeal
Miss Do's Appeal
"It is correct that recently the Vietnamese government has eased its control over church activities. There might be a certain freedom of religion in Vietnam in comparison with the past, but this is only the case for big cities. In the villages and in the countryside, Catholic Christians are still harassed by the Vietnamese authorities. For example in my village the Church never got permission from the local authorities to be refurbished. The local authorities also confiscated the building where we were teaching catechism. When I was teaching Catholicism I was harassed by the authorities and suffered discrimination. The police came to my house many times and took me to the police station. In June 2001 I was taken twice to the police station. The police told me to stop teaching Catholicism or I would be arrested. I carried on teaching as my faith was stronger and because I thought that they could not find out what I was doing. I did not feel safe anywhere in Vietnam and that is why I decided to leave the country. The communist government wants children to be raised and taught according to Communist beliefs. Teaching Catholicism is believed to be acting against the government. If I were to be returned to Vietnam I could not practice my religion freely and I could not teach Catholicism, as it is my wish. The Vietnamese authorities would eventually arrest me and put me in prison. This happened to a lot of Christians in Vietnam and is still happening.
I suffered discrimination and threat to my life in my country of origin. If I was to be returned to Vietnam I could not practice my religion freely and I will not be allowed to teach Catholicism to the children, as it is my wish. Furthermore the Vietnamese authorities are suspicious towards people coming from abroad. I would be watched by the police even more closely. I fear for my safety and my freedom as I could be put into prison if I am required to return to Vietnam. I therefore request that I should be allowed to remain in the United Kingdom as a Refugee recognised under the convention."
Issues and Submissions
'Contracting States have the right, as a matter of well-established international law and subject to their treaty obligations including the Convention, to control the entry, residence and expulsion of aliens'
See, for instance, Bensaid v United Kingdom (2001) 33 EHRR 10. As we consider the authorities, it will become apparent that the Court does not consider that the Convention will be engaged simply because the effect of the exercise of immigration control will be to remove an individual to a country where the Convention rights are not fully respected. Equally, where the Court finds that removal or refusal of entry engages the Convention, the Court will often treat the right to control immigration as one that outweighs, or trumps, the Convention right.
"86. Article 1 of the Convention, which provides that "the high Contracting Parties shall secure to everyone within their jurisdiction the rights and freedoms defined in Section I" sets a limit, notably territorial, on the reach of the Convention. In particular, the engagement undertaken by a Contracting state is confined to 'securing' ('reconnažtre' in the French text) the listed rights and freedoms to persons within its own 'jurisdiction'. Further, the Convention does not govern the actions of states not Parties to it, nor does it purport to be a means of requiring the contracting States to impose convention standards on other states. Article 1 cannot be read as justifying a general principle to the effect that, notwithstanding its extradition obligations, a Contracting State may not surrender an individual unless satisfied that the conditions awaiting him in the country of destination are in full accord with each of the safe guards of the Convention."
"88. Article 3 makes no provision for exceptions and no derogation from it is permissible under Article 15 in time of war or other national emergency. This absolute prohibition on torture and on inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under the terms of the Convention shows that Article 3 enshrines one of the fundamental values of the democratic societies making up the Council of Europe. It is also to be found in similar terms in other international instruments such as the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the 1969 American Convention on Human Rights and is generally recognised as an internationally accepted standard.
The question remains whether the extradition of a fugitive to another State where he would be subjected or be likely to be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment would itself engage the responsibility of a Contracting State under Article 3.
It would hardly be compatible with the underlying values of the Convention, that 'common heritage of political traditions, ideals, freedom and the rule of law' to which the Preamble refers, were a Contracting State knowingly to surrender a fugitive to another State where there were substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture, however heinous the crime allegedly committed. Extradition in such circumstances, while not explicitly referred to in the brief and general wording of Article 3, would plainly be contrary to the spirit and intendment of the Article, and in the Court's view this inherent obligation not to extradite also extends to cases in which the fugitive would be faced in the receiving State by a real risk of exposure to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment proscribed by that Article.
91. In sum, the decision by a Contracting State to extradite a fugitive may give rise to an issue under Article 3, and hence engage the responsibility of that State under the Convention, where substantial grounds have been shown for believing that the person concerned, if extradited, faces a real risk of being subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in the requesting country. The establishment of such responsibility inevitably involves an assessment of conditions in the requesting country against the standards of Article 3 of the Convention. Nonetheless, there is no question of adjudicating on or establishing the responsibility of the receiving country, whether under general international law, under the Convention or otherwise. In so far as any liability under the Convention is or may be incurred, it is liability incurred by the extraditing Contracting State by reason of its having taken action which has as a direct consequence the exposure of an individual to proscribed ill-treatment."
"113. The right to a fair trial in criminal proceedings, as embodied in Article 6, holds a prominent place in a democratic society. The Court does not exclude that an issue might exceptionally be raised under Article 6 by an extradition decision in circumstances where the fugitive has suffered or risks suffering a flagrant denial of a fair trial in the requesting country. However, the facts of the present case do not disclose such a risk.
Accordingly, no issue arises under Article 6(3)© in this respect."
"What amounts to 'inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment' depends on all the circumstances of the case. Furthermore, inherent in the whole of the Convention is a search for a fair balance between the demands of the general interest of the community and the requirements of the protection of the individual's fundamental rights. As movement about the world becomes easier and crime takes on a larger international dimension, it is increasingly in the interest of all nations that suspected offenders who flee abroad should be brought to justice. Conversely, the establishment of safe havens for fugitives would not only result in danger for the State obliged to harbour the protected person but also tend to undermine the foundations of extradition. These considerations must also be included among the factors to be taken into account in the interpretation and application of the notions of inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment in extradition cases."
"79. Article 3 enshrines one of the most fundamental values of democratic society. The Court is well aware of the immense difficulties faced by States in modern times in protecting their communities from terrorist violence. However, even in these circumstances, the Convention prohibits in absolute terms torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, irrespective of the victim's conduct. Unlike most of the substantive clauses of the Convention and of Protocols Nos. 1 and 4, Article 3 makes no provision for exceptions and no derogation from it is permissible under Article 15 even in the event of a public emergency threatening the life of the nation.
The prohibition provided by Article 3 against ill-treatment is equally absolute in expulsion cases. Thus, whenever substantial grounds have been shown for believing that an individual would face a real risk of being subjected to treatment contrary to Article 3 if removed to another State, the responsibility of the Contracting State to safeguard him or her against such treatment is engaged in the event of expulsion. In these circumstances, the activities of the individual in question, however undesirable or dangerous, cannot be a material consideration. The protection afforded by Article 3 is thus wider than that provided by Articles 32 and 33 of the United Nations 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees.
Paragraph 88 of the Court's above-mentioned Soering judgment, which concerned extradition to the United States, clearly and forcefully expresses the above view. It should not be inferred from the Court's remarks concerning the risk of undermining the foundations of extradition, as set out in paragraph 89 of the same judgment, that there is any room for balancing the risk of ill-treatment against the reasons for expulsion in determining whether a State's responsibility under Article 3 is engaged."
"46. Not every act or measure which adversely affects moral or physical integrity will interfere with the right to respect to private life guaranteed by Article 8. However, the court's case-law does not exclude that treatment which does not reach the severity of Article 3 treatment may nonetheless breach Article 8 in its private life aspect where there are sufficiently adverse effects on physical and moral integrity.
47. Private life is a broad term not susceptible to exhaustive definition. The Court has already held that elements such as gender, identification, name and sexual orientation and sexual life are important elements of the personal sphere protected by Article 8. Mental health must also be regarded as a crucial part of private life associated with the aspect of moral integrity. Article 8 protects a right to identity and personal development, and the right to establish and develop relationships with other human beings and the outside world. The preservation of mental stability is in that context an indispensable precondition to effective enjoyment of the right to respect for private life.
48. Turning to the present case, the Court recalls that it has found above that the risk of damage to the applicant's health from return to his country of origin as based on largely hypothetical factors and that it was not substantiated that he would suffer inhuman and degrading treatment. Nor in the circumstances has it been established that his moral integrity would be substantially affected to a degree falling within the scope of Article 8 of the convention. Even assuming that the dislocation caused to the applicant by removal from the United Kingdom where he has lived for the last eleven years was to be considered by itself as affecting his private life, in the context of the relationships and support framework which he enjoyed there, the Court considers that such interference may be regarded as complying with the requirements of the second paragraph of Article 8, namely as a measure "in accordance with the law", pursuing the aims of the protection of the economic well-being of the country and the prevention of disorder and crime, as well as being "necessary in a democratic society" for those aims."
The domestic jurisprudence
(a) any ground mentioned in section 69, or
(b) any question relating to the appellant's rights under Article 3 of the Human Rights Convention,
the appellate authority may take into account any evidence which it considers to be relevant to the appeal (including evidence about matters arising after the date on which the decision appealed against was taken)."
This demonstrates that Parliament has accepted that immigration decisions can engage Article 3 of the Convention. It also demonstrates that Parliament has not accepted that immigration decisions can engage other articles of the Convention. We do not consider that it demonstrates that Parliament has accepted that immigration decisions cannot engage other articles of the Convention - see the discussion in S & K considered in paragraph 58 below.
"Circumstances can undoubtedly exist in which the treatment which awaits a claimant in a destination state is of a severity which would cause a State to be in breach of a claimant's Article 3 rights if it expelled him to that destination state. I would not rule out the possibility that amongst those circumstances might be treatment which was aimed at a particular sexual group. However, I do not consider that the mere existence of a law in the destination State prohibiting particular types of sexual conduct in private amongst adults has the automatic result that an expelling State which wishes to expel a person who wishes to indulge in that type of sexual conduct is breaching his rights under Article 3."
"We are not bound to follow the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights but simply to take them into account. Nevertheless the jurisprudence of the court does point clearly to the fact that rights which are not absolute, such as the right to education, are not engaged where a state is exercising legitimate immigration control. Accordingly we think Mr Pleming's submissions on this issue are right. A child's right to education whilst it is in the United Kingdom does not carry with it the right to stay here. The Secretary of State has obviously to take account of any educational difficulties which it is alleged the child will suffer if returned to the country of origin as part of the compassionate grounds for granting exceptional leave to remain, but is not obliged to take a view as to whether the child's Article 2 right will be infringed there. However, in the spirit of restraint to which we have referred, we do not think it is necessary to decide this point authoritatively in this case, in view of our decision on the other issues to which we now turn."
He went on to consider whether Article 2 was infringed and held that it was not.
"She has been allowed to develop a social network that has helped to support her" … "she has now been in the UK long enough to develop a positive and supportive social network" … "I do believe that if returned she will deteriorate markedly if only because of the loss of her social network."
"25. With great respect to the Court of Appeal, we are not persuaded that the rights are not engaged in immigration cases. That in our view is contrary to Soering. The true analysis is that, although the rights may be engaged, legitimate immigration control will almost certainly mean that derogation from the rights will be proper and will not be disproportionate. There may be exceptions, as the reference in Soering to flagrant breaches of Article 6 indicate. This is because the court has recognised that a country is entitled, "as a matter of well-established international law and subject to their treaty obligations including the Convention, to control the entry, residence and expulsion of aliens". (See Hilal v United Kingdom E.Ct.HR 6 March 2001 at Paragraph 59). In Salazar v Sweden (E.Comm HR 7 March 1996) the Commission observed:
'In the field of immigration Contracting States enjoy a wide margin of appreciation in determining the steps to be taken to ensure compliance with the Convention with due regard to the needs and resources of the community and of individuals'.
Among other cases, it cites Abdulaziz v United Kingdom (1985) 7 EHRR 471, which concerned an alleged breach of Article 8 in the refusal to permit the applicant to join his family in the United Kingdom. The court decided that Article 8 could apply where immigration control was being enforced but that in the circumstances of that case there was no breach.
26. We therefore see no reason to exclude the possible application of any relevant Article (save, perhaps Article 2 if the reasoning in Dehwari is to be followed) in deportation cases, but it will be virtually impossible for an applicant to establish that control on immigration was disproportionate to any breach. In particular, if Article 3 is not established, it is difficult to see how Article 8 could be if, as in this instant case, the alleged breach will occur in the receiving State when the applicant is removed. In the context of this case, the adjudicator was in error in concluding that Article 4 could not be relied on because it did not, as he put it, have extra-territorial effect. That definition is misleading since there is no question of extra-territorial effect in the true sense of that word since the breach, if any, will have occurred within the jurisdiction by the decision to remove which will have the effect of exposing the individual to whatever violation of his human rights is in issue. We have used the word as a convenient label for the argument, but, for the reasons given, we reject the argument."
"It is clear that the Court does not attempt to impose the duties of the convention on States that are not party to it. It is also clear that the fact that a person may be treated in a manner that would, in a signatory State, be a breach of the convention does not of itself render his expulsion to another country unlawful, unless either the breach will be of Article 3, or the consequences of return will be so extreme a breach of another Article that the returning State, as one of its obligations under the convention, is obliged to have regard to them. Following the jurisprudence on Articles 5 and 6, this consequence will only arise if the situation in the receiving country is that there will be a flagrant denial or gross violation of the rights secured by the convention. For this reason we have not needed to consider in this determination the precise implications of Article 5 and 6 within signatory States.
The reason why flagrant denial or gross violation is to be taken into account is that it is only in such a case - where the right will be completely denied or nullified in the destination country - that it can be said that removal will breach the treaty obligations of the signatory State however those obligations might be interpreted or whatever might be said by or on behalf of the destination State."
"Section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires the appellate authority as a public authority (see s.6(3)(a)) to act in a way which is compatible with a Convention right. This obligation does not apply if 'as a result of one or more provisions of primary legislation, the authority could not have acted differently' s.6(2)(a). Section 3 of the 1998 Act requires us to read and give effect to legislation so far as possible in a way which is compatible with the Convention rights. To make a determination which upholds a decision to return in breach of human rights could, subject to the impact of primary legislation, breach section 6. It is important to note the language of and relationship between s.77(3) and (4). In s.77(3) a distinction is drawn between a 'ground mentioned in s.69' and a question relating to rights under Article 3. S.77(4) refers to consideration of 'any other ground' not to consideration of other questions arising. The differences in wording must be taken to have been deliberate. We are well aware that the Home Office view was (and the argument has been raised by Mr. Wilken in his skeleton but not developed because of our decision in Kacaj) that only Article 3 could be relied on in removal cases. It is therefore not surprising that Parliament should have wanted to leave the matter open, particularly in the light of indications in Soering v United Kingdom (1989) 11 EHRR 439 that Article 6 certainly might be relied on in such cases. Parliament no doubt recognised the absurdities and contradictions of its 'one-stop' policy which would arise otherwise and it is incidentally to be noted that the matter is put beyond doubt in the 2002 Act which has just been passed.
In our judgment s.77(4) does not in appeals concerned with potential removals from the United Kingdom prevent consideration of any question relating to an appellant's rights under any Article of the Human Rights Convention as at the date of hearing."
"31. As enshrined in Article 9, freedom of thought, conscience and religion is one of the foundations of a 'democratic society' within the meaning of the Convention. It is, in its religious dimension, one of the most vital elements that go to make up the identity of believers and of their conception of life, but it is also a precious asset for atheists, agnostics, sceptics and the unconcerned. The pluralism indissociable from a democratic society, which has been dearly won over the centuries, depends on it.
While religious freedom is primarily a matter of individual conscience, it also implies, inter alia, freedom to 'manifest [one's] religion'. Bearing witness in words and deeds is bound up with the existence of religious convictions.
According to Article 9, freedom to manifest one's religion is not only exercisable in community with others, 'in public' and within the circle of those whose faith one shares, but can also be asserted 'alone' and 'in private'; furthermore, it includes in principle the right to try to convince one's neighbour, for example through 'teaching', failing which, moreover, 'freedom to change [one's] religion or belief', enshrined in Article 9, would be likely to remain a dead letter."
Miss Do's appeal
"35. In summary therefore I find that although the appellant's family may well have been subjected to general harassment and verbal abuse in recent years, perhaps because it has become known in the community the appellant preaches, there is no credible evidence that he has in fact suffered from serious incidents of violence which the police have been unwilling to investigate. The appellant and his family remained living in Karachi during the whole of this period. The appellant's family are still living in Karachi and do not appear to be experiencing any serious problems, although I accept that his children may continue to be abused at school. His father lives in Karachi as does his wife's family and there is no evidence that they suffer any particular problems. The appellant has never been subjected to any state investigation as a result of his preaching; he has never been arrested nor detained for any reason at all. He claims to have been a successful business man, even to the extent of being able to restart a business in Karachi with no apparent difficulty and yet he produces no evidence about his business activities. He had no problems at all until the age of 42 and has been able to carry on his faith all of his life without serious hinderance. This evidence must be viewed against the background evidence of serious discrimination against some followers of the Ahmadi faith in their work and daily lives and serious interference in their ability to follow and practise their faith. There is no credible evidence that this has been the position in relation to this appellant. Having regard to the evidence in totality, I have come to the conclusion that the appellant has come to the United Kingdom for reasons other than the need to seek international protection."
"36. The appellant has therefore not established that he has in fact been persecuted in the past on account of his faith and neither has he established that he would face a serious risk of persecution, in his particular circumstances, if he returns to Pakistan now. I see no reason why the appellant cannot return to Karachi to his wife and children where on his own account it is open to him to continue his business activities and, importantly, in his case, the evidence strongly supports the finding that he will be able to carry on his faith as before, as his family appear to do so currently. Even accepting that he began to preach in 1998, for the reasons I have already given, I do not find that in his case that did result in any serious problems for him. He is an ordinary member of the Ahmadiyya faith; he has not come to the attention of the authorities on account of his faith; has no credible evidence that he has been targeted by religious extremists for that reason and no evidence on which to properly conclude that he would face such problems in the future.
"In relation to Articles 9 10 and 11 (Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion and Expression and Freedom of Assembly and Association) it is clear from the background evidence that the ability of Ahmadis to exercise their free rights under these Articles are constrained by the law and by societal attitudes towards them and that state action is generally ineffective. In relation to the appellant however, these rights do have to be regarded in the context of the evidence before me, which as I have said, has led to my finding that he has not personally experienced to any serious degree some of the problems which are faced by many Ahmadis in Pakistan. I have referred to the background evidence included in the appellant's bundle and to two further fairly recent reports in late 2000 from Amnesty International concerning the stepping up of campaigns against minorities in the country. The background evidence also supports the conclusion that the government continues to express its opposition to discrimination against religious minorities although, I accept, that this may just be words as opposed to action. I have concluded that in the context of these Articles, that is that they enshrine an individual's right to express his beliefs in public or private and to manifest his beliefs in worship, teaching practice and observance and to share ideas and information concerning his or her opinions and also to have the freedom of peaceful assembly, that returning the appellant to Pakistan where those rights are curtailed, does engage those articles under the Convention in the appellant's case. These articles are qualified articles and I must therefore consider whether or not the UK government's action in returning the appellant would be in breach of those articles by a reference to a three stage test, that is, whether or not the respondent's action is in accordance with the law; whether it pursues a legitimate aim and whether or not it is proportionate in relation to the prospective breach. It is my finding that the respondent's action is in accordance with the law in that he has made his decisions in accordance with immigration legislation and the decisions he has made comply with statutory requirements. I also find that the respondent is pursuing a legitimate aim, that is immigration control which is a state's right. The appellant will be returned to a society where he is regarded as a religious minority and he is not afforded the same rights as the majority. Nevertheless, for the reasons I have already given in his particular circumstances, that has not prevented him from carrying on his faith nor has it prevented his family. He has been preaching since 1998 and the authorities have taken no action against him. He has been a life long Ahmadi, he was born into an Ahmadi family and neither he nor his family appear to have suffered any direct discrimination from the State. He has been successful in business; his children have been educated and apart from incidents of verbal abuse in the streets and minor violence there is no credible evidence of any serious problems. His family remain in Karachi and there is no evidence that they are experiencing any real difficulties. I have therefore come to the conclusion that the UK government's action in seeking to remove the appellant to Pakistan in pursuance of the need for proper immigration control, and in the light of my findings in this case, will not breach the appellant's right under these articles as that action is proportionate to any difficulties the appellant may face as a result of his faith on return to Pakistan."
14. The respondent refused the claim saying that he did not believe that the appellant was a Roman Catholic. This was based on the fact that the appellant appeared to have little knowledge of Roman Catholicism and her replies to technical questions were inadequate. That evidence has now been rebutted in three ways. The first way is the fact that a lot of the evidence was simply based on mistranslation. I can say from my own experience at the hearing that this is a problem. Clearly the Vietnamese interpreters available in this country are all Buddhist with little or no knowledge of Christian terminology. They were unable to translate what she was saying either in interview or at the hearing. For this reason I put little weight on some of the answers. Further the appellant has now produced two important pieces of evidence that strongly support her claim. The first is the photographic evidence. And clear evidence that the appellant was given first Holy Communion in the Catholic Church and confirmed into that Church. I find that unassailable evidence of her membership of the Catholic Church. Finally her evidence is supported by the Vietnamese Priest being the Reverend Simon Thag Duc Nguyen who submitted a witness statement. That witness statement indicates that the appellant is a strong supporter of the Catholic faith and her lack of knowledge of Catholic tenets would be expected from someone brought up in Vietnam under the repressive regime which did not allow good religious instruction. On that basis I accept that the appellant has proved to the necessary standard that she was a member of the Catholic Church and that she practised the Catholic religion in Vietnam.
15. The appellant has also claimed that she found it difficult to practice her religion because of the attitude of the authorities in Vietnam. I have described above the ways in which she said she was disadvantaged. I have considered that evidence in the light of the objective evidence. The objective evidence does show that there are problems with certain religions. Up until recently religions were banned but that has been changed and the constitution now provides for freedom of worship. However the US State Department Report says:
'Government regulations control religious hierarchies and organised religious activities in part because the Community Party fears that organised religion may weaken its authority and influence.'
The Report also says:
'Many of these restrictive powers lie principally with provincial city peoples committees and local treatment of religious persons varied widely …. In other areas such as the north-west provinces local officials allowed believers a little discretion in practising their faith. In general religious groups face difficulties in obtaining teaching materials, expanding training facilities, publishing religious materials, and expanding the clergy in training in response to the increased demand from the congregation.'
In those circumstances the appellant's evidence of difficulties in following her faith and discrimination are supported by the evidence and I accept the same.
16. The appellant has also belatedly claimed that the police had questioned her and taken her to the station on a number of occasions. Although I have generally accepted the appellant's evidence I do not accept this evidence. This evidence is in direct contradiction to her original interview and statement. Her statement never mentioned any question of a problem with the police. The statement was detailed and such an omission seems to me surprising, to say the least, if it were true. Further in interview she very specifically said that she had never been arrested although she did say that there were difficulties with the police over the religion. However, that reference was only to discriminatory steps being taken. I therefore find it highly suspicious that suddenly just before the hearing, and after the criticism of her claim in the refusal letter relating to lack of arrests, she adds a claim that she has been harassed by the police and taken to the police station. Further I cannot understand the distinction she is trying to make between being arrested and being invited to go to the police station and being taken there. The evidence itself was contradictory as to whether she ever went to a police station or not. I simply believe that this is an embellishment to the claim and I do not accept the appellant's evidence in that regard at all.
18. I have considered the objective evidence in the light of the arguments before me. I do not find that the objective evidence supports the appellant's claim. The CIPU Report, the US State Department Religious Freedom Report and the US State Department Report all indicate that Roman Catholicism is a recognised religion by the government of Vietnam. Although there certainly is some discrimination against religious practices and efforts to minimise their effect, there is absolutely no evidence that persons are actually persecuted. Certainly there is no evidence of widespread arrests. There is evidence of arrests of certain political and religious dissidents but the objective evidence makes it clear that those religious dissidents are not Roman Catholic. There are some Buddhists, Protestants and something called a Hoa Hoa Sect which have been targeted. However, there is no evidence at all that Roman Catholics are at risk of persecution. The sort of behaviour the appellant specified in her statement is discrimination. It has does not affect her basic rights. She can still practice her religion albeit under reduced circumstances and her rights to earning a living, physical safety and her right to shelter is not compromised. In those circumstances such disadvantages as she does suffer because of her faith do not cross the line from discrimination to persecution. For all these reasons therefore I find that the appellant has not proved to the necessary standard that she is likely to be persecuted or arrested if she were returned to Vietnam because of her religion. I therefore dismiss the asylum appeal.