COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)
ON APPEAL FROM THE ASYLUM AND IMMIGRATION TRIBUNAL
 UKAIT 18
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
LORD JUSTICE CARNWATH
LORD JUSTICE LLOYD
| AB (JAMAICA)
|- and -
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Mr Steven Kovats appeared on behalf of the Respondent
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Lord Justice Lloyd:
"I find that the appellant has been persecuted for the Convention reason of membership of a particular social group, namely women who are perceived informers and who are unprotected by the state. There is an insufficiency of protection in Jamaica for such social groups."
The Immigration Judge went on to reject the respondent's contention that an internal flight was a viable and reasonable alternative and she therefore allowed the asylum appeal on those grounds.
"2… the appellant began a relationship with F, an area leader of a criminal gang in his area, when she was fourteen. She became pregnant soon after. On occasions F would punch her and she would be bruised. After she gave birth to her daughter in 1994, she moved in with F. We do not identify where the appellant lived precisely, but it was within the Kingston Metropolitan Area… His occasional beatings continued. She was scared of him. He would sometimes disappear and on one occasion he was gone for two-and-half years and she heard he had been in prison. During this time his friends checked up on her. Even so, she began an affair with G and fell pregnant. F found out about this whilst in prison and one of his fellow gang members delivered a letter from him threatening to kill her, the baby and G. The appellant and G decided to separate and let him raise their child with his mother's help. When F came out of prison he tried to rape the appellant and continued to be violent against her; threatening her with a gun on one occasion. She was too afraid to go to the police as she believed F would learn she had informed on him; also she did not think they would do anything. Around 1999/2000 F disappeared and the appellant heard from neighbours that he was suspected of having killed a rival area gang leader from the same gang -- which she thought must be the One Order gang. The appellant never saw him again.
3. A couple of weeks after he had left, two men came to her house wanting to know where F was. They slapped and hit her, accused her of lying and threatened to kill her. They also warned her not to go to the police saying that they would know if she did. The appellant was scared. She and her daughter left the house and moved in with her grandmother, who lived relatively close by. About a week after, they tracked her down. They forced her into a car and took her to the coast where they raped and sexually abused her and also hit her. When they left her they said they were not finished with her. A man stopped his car and took her to her grandmother's. She went to hospital that night and had stitches and was treated as a precaution for gonorreah. Her grandmother was frightened for her and sent her and her daughter to a friend who lived in a rural area, about forty five minutes drive away. She stayed there for several months but did not go out and was too scared to even sit on the veranda. She heard that the gang members kept harassing her grandmother. Her grandmother raised the money for her to flee Jamaica in November 2001. Her daughter followed in July 2002. The appellant was traumatised and did not discuss her experiences with anyone in the UK until she claimed asylum."
"We are just persuaded also that, by virtue of her subjective fears and her traumatised state, she would not be able to seek the protection of the police and so would not be able to benefit from available assistance under the Witness Protection programme: we do not find it reasonably likely that she would approach the police in order to be admitted to it. We accept therefore that inside her home area she would face a real risk of persecution at [the hands of F] or the hands of his associates again, sooner or later."
"However, we do not consider that the appellant would face a real risk of persecution if she relocated to another part of Jamaica."
In that quite long paragraph they go into an assessment of the facts which led them to that conclusion, and that is not a passage which is challenged on appeal.
"There remains the question of whether, even if the appellant would not face a continuing risk of persecution, it would be unreasonable or unduly harsh in her case to expect her to relocate."
Then in the course of the remainder of the determination, the Tribunal addressed a number of different points in respect of which it had been argued that it would be unreasonable or unduly harsh to expect the appellant to relocate to a different area of Jamaica outside the Kingston Metropolitan area where the Tribunal held that, for the reasons given at paragraph 179, she would in fact be safe from the persecution which she feared.
"Even considered cumulatively we do not think that the appellant's and her daughter's circumstances, as we have identified them, would make relocation an unduly harsh or unreasonable option for them."
"The decision-maker, taking account of all relevant circumstances pertaining to the claimant and his country of origin, must decide whether it is reasonable to expect the claimant to relocate or whether it would be unduly harsh to expect him to do so…There is, as Simon Brown LJ aptly observed in Svazas v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 74  1 WLR 1891, para 55, a spectrum of cases. The decision-maker must do his best to decide, on such material as is available, where on the spectrum the particular case falls…All must depend on a fair assessment of the relevant facts."
"Although specifically directed to a secondary issue in the case, these observations are plainly of general application. It is not easy to see how the rule could be more simply or clearly expressed. It is, or should be, evident that the inquiry must be directed to the situation of the particular applicant, whose age, gender, experience, health, skills and family ties may all be very relevant. There is no warrant for excluding, or giving priority to, consideration of the applicant's way of life in the place of persecution. There is no warrant for excluding, or giving priority to, consideration of conditions generally prevailing in the home country. I do not underestimate the difficulty of making decisions in some cases. But the difficulty lies in applying the test, not in expressing it. The humanitarian object of the Refugee Convention is to secure a reasonable measure of protection for those with a well-founded fear of persecution in their home country or some part of it; it is not to procure a general levelling-up of living standards around the world, desirable though of course that is."
"It would be unreasonable, including from a human rights perspective, to expect a person to relocate to face economic destitution or existence below at least an adequate level of subsistence."
Having quoted those passages he said this:
"These guidelines are, I think, helpful, concentrating attention as they do on the standards prevailing generally in the country of nationality"
Then he said he also found helpful a passage in an article by Dr Storey, The Internal Flight Alternative Test: The Jurisprudence Re-examined  10 International Journal of Refugee Law 499 at 516, on socio-economic factors. That passage, which I do not need to quote here, since it is set out in Lord Bingham's speech, also refers to a variety of circumstances in which the economic circumstances of the claimant, hypothetically relocated to a safer part of the country, might or might not demonstrate that relocation would be unreasonable or unduly harsh. In the course of that the phrase "utter destitution" is mentioned.
"If the claimant can live a relatively normal life there [that is to say in the less hostile or more safe area] judged by the standards that prevail in his country of nationality generally, and if he can reach the less hostile part without undue hardship or undue difficulty, it will not be unreasonable to expect him to move there."
The reference to hostility is explicable in the context of the facts of the particular case, namely the refugees from Darfur and the question of whether they could reasonably be expected to relocate to Khartoum.
"Hard-hearted as this may sound, and sympathetic although inevitably one feels towards those who have suffered as have these respondents (and the tens of thousands like them), the Refugee Convention, as I have sought to explain, is really intended only to protect those threatened with specific forms of persecution. It is not a general humanitarian measure. For these respondents, persecution is no longer a risk. Given that they can now safely be returned home, only proof that their lives on return would be quite simply intolerable compared even to the problems and deprivations of so many of their fellow countrymen would entitle them to refugee status. Compassion alone cannot justify the grant of asylum."
"In any event, the test we have to apply is not whether there would be a lack of social welfare support, but whether in the appellant's and her daughter's particular circumstances, there would be virtual destitution: see Januzi."
Lord Justice Carnwath:
Lord Justice Sedley:
Order: Appeal dismissed