RM (Sufficiency of Protection-IFA-FGM) Kenya  UKIAT 00022
Date of hearing: 20 January 2004
Date Determination notified: 12 February 2004
|Secretary of State for the Home Department||APPELLANT|
'To what social group, if any, did the appellant belong? To identify a social group one must first identify the society of which it forms a part. In this case the society is plainly that of Pakistan. Within that society, it seems to me that women form a social group of a kind contemplated by the Convention. Discrimination against women in matters of fundamental human rights on the grounds that they are women is plainly in pari materiae with discrimination on the grounds of race. It offends against their rights as human beings to equal treatment and respect.' What constitutes a particular social group in a particular country is a question of fact to be considered on a case by case basis.
'23. On a balanced assessment of the Country Information before us it is clear that whilst there are some similarities between Kenya and Pakistan, there are greater differences. The US State Department Report shows serious problems of rape and domestic violence, which are often unreported because of the widespread belief that the perpetrators will not be punished. However, Kenya has agreed to be bound by international human rights standards. Police regard domestic violence against women as a family matter not as a crime. But they are being trained in gender issues. A domestic violence bill has been published and there are a number of active women NGOs. The overall picture does not show that women in Kenya are unprotected by the state to the same extent as Pakistan. It shows that there is real progress in reducing institutionalised discrimination against women, still some toleration of discrimination but very little discrimination which is positively sanctioned by the state. A good example, particularly relevant to this appeal, is that there has been a presidential decree banning FGM. For this purpose we do not accept Miss Fisher's submission that a presidential decree is in any way inferior to an act of parliament.
24. The evidence does not support a particular social group defined as either "Kikuyu women" or "women who face FGM". There is no evidence to show that Kikuyu women are discriminated against or at any greater risk that women in general. As to women who face FGM, whilst the Country Information shows that it is still widely practised, there is clearly an improvement, exemplified by the presidential decree to which we have referred.
25. We find that the respondent does not belong to a particular social group. She has not established a Convention reason and for this reasons her Refugee Convention appeal must fail. However, her Article 3 is not dependent on a Convention reason.'