LM (Educated women – Chaldo-Assyrians – risk) Iraq CG  UKAIT 00060
ASYLUM AND IMMIGRATION TRIBUNAL
Date of hearing: 15 March 2006
Date Determination notified: 26 July 2006
Immigration Judge Carroll
|Secretary of State for the Home Department||RESPONDENT|
DETERMINATION AND REASONS
Female Christians not at risk of persecution or Article 3 ECHR breach but additional factors (prominent position in companies associated with Multi-National Force, westernised, women's rights activities or refusal to wear hijab, lack of KDG connections, no family support, English speaking or non-Kurdish speaking) may increase risk to level engaging both Conventions. RA (Christians) Iraq CG  UKIAT 00091 remains correct on position of male Christians. No sufficiency of protection outside KDG.
"51. Sometimes it will be necessary to show a generality of harm. This may be particularly so in cases where a claimant bases his case simply on the characteristics of the country to which he is being returned, without referring to the acts of any malevolent individual. If his case is simply based on the awfulness of his country, he will clearly need to show that the awfulness extends to the whole country, otherwise his claim lacks substance: he fails to establish the risk of harm because he can avoid it. If his claim (like Batayav's) is based on the conditions in Russian prisons, he needs to establish that he will be incarcerated and also that prisons in general pose the risk he fears. If they do not, he may be unable to show that there is a real risk that he will suffer the harm, as his dispatch to one of the worse (rather than one of the better) prisons would be a matter of pure speculation. Given that he showed that he was at risk of imprisonment in Russia, his case became stronger the more universal the conditions of which he complains. But that is not to say that there is an artificial barrier that his evidence has to pass. It all depends. It is a matter of logic; and the way the rules of logic work will differ from case to case.
52. It is for that reason that we do not think that the Court of Appeal intended to set down any general rule in any of the three decisions to which we have referred. In each case, the Court was approaching the risk alleged in that case and testing the evidence by the rules of logic. It is not surprising that different words should be used each time; nor is it surprising that in the first Batayav v SSHD all the members of the Court associated themselves with the warning against changing the question by fixing it in a particular form of words."
Secretary of State's submissions
Appellant's reply to Secretary of State's submissions
"10. There are clearly problems at least towards particular Christians in Iraq, some of which may cross the threshold of persecution or Article 3…., sellers of alcohol, owners of cinemas where sexually explicit films are shown, and perhaps people who speak English on account of their Christianity are at particular risk. There may be a degree of risk also to women wearing headscarves although the evidence seems to suggest that they would be likely to risk no more than having eggs or tomatoes thrown at them".
The Tribunal considered in that case that the appellant (who was male) had not demonstrated a real risk of persecution.
"70. There is clearly therefore evidence of significant problems for Christians in a number of parts of Iraq. Most of the evidence concerns Chaldo-Assyrians, but we consider that the risk to Christians generally is not materially different from the risk to Chaldo-Assyrians and the issue is of that of assessing the level of risk that they face, and in particular as the Tribunal noted in AK, following Hariri and Batayav, there requires to be a consistent pattern of gross and systematic violation of rights under Article 3 for that threshold to be crossed.
71. We accept that the evidence shows a deterioration in the situation since the Tribunal considered the evidence of risk to Christians in Iraq in AK. It is relevant to bear in mind also, evidence summarised in the Country Report of October 2004 that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is receiving increased Reports of intimidation against Christians. There have also been sectarian attacks and over recent months, Christian churches have been deliberately targeted in bomb attacks which have resulted in the deaths of eleven people. The Chaldean Patriarch has stated that fanaticism is on the rise, but he considered that there was no general persecution of Christians. He considered that the personal survival of Christians is likely to come under further threats as the movement for the Islamisation of Iraq gathers momentum.
72. The question before us is whether there is a real risk on return for this appellant and to what extent if any there can be said to be a real risk for Christians generally in Iraq. Increasing numbers of Christians are leaving Iraq, though equally it is clear that significant numbers remain. The number of Christians in Iraq would appear on the evidence as a whole (and in this regard we consider that the recent Report in the Daily Telegraph is somewhat in error in this respect) to be in the order of some 600,000. It is said that at one point there were over a million prior to the downfall of Saddam Hussein's régime. The number of examples to which we have referred above in the evidence persuades us and the general atmosphere of fear that the situation is closer than it was to one where there is a real risk of persecution or breach of their human rights for Christians in Iraq. We are not persuaded, however, that it has reached the point of crossing the threshold to become a real risk. It is clear that Christians are still meeting together and attending church, albeit in an atmosphere of increasing concern, and increasing examples of attacks and are clearly feeling inhibited from expressing their religion to an extent which, we accept, comes closer than previously to amounting to a real risk of persecution. However we conclude that the evidence falls short as of today of indicating that the appropriate threshold is crossed.
73. … The evidence is not such at this stage as to indicate problems for a person relocating to the North such as to render this unduly harsh or, in the case of Article 3 of the Human Rights Convention to indicate a real risk of breach of their human rights in effecting such relocation and living in the North.
74. We are conscious of the fact that Iraq is a country where change occurs at a faster rate than in most other countries of the world. Country Guidance cases on Iraq at present are unlikely to have a very long shelf life. Nevertheless we can only deal with the evidence as it is before us at the time of the hearing, and we have concluded with regard to the evidence on risk to Christians in Iraq that at present though the position has, as we say, deteriorated since it was examined by the Tribunal in AK, that it does not in the case of a Christian such as the appellant who has no particular distinguishing features to his Christianity, give risk to a real risk. Again, the categories identified by the Tribunal in AK at paragraph 10 would appear to be at particular risk…"
The Country of Origin Information Report for October 2005
Political and geographical background in Iraq
- 30 January 2005. The multi party national elections were held in Iraq. The Shi'a United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) wins with 49% of the votes cast and 140 seats in the 275 seat National Assembly. The Kurdistan Alliance list led by Jalal Talebani obtains 26% of the vote and 75 seats in the National Assembly. Al-Qaimah al-Iraqiyah (Iraqi List) led by the interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, was in third place with 14 per cent and 40 seats.
- 28 February 2005. More than 130 are killed by a massive car bomb in Hiller South of Baghdad in the worst single such incident since the US led invasion.
- April 2005. Parliament selects Kurdish leader Jalal Talebani as President Ibrahim Jaafari, a Shi'ite becomes Prime Minster. The formation of a now government comes amid escalating violence. A new Council of Ministers is approved by the TNA on 28 April 2005.
- May 2005. The Iraqi government announces a huge anti-insurgency operation in Baghdad with 40,000 troops being deployed on the streets over the next week to stop the attacks that have killed more than 650 people in April 2005.
- June 2005. Masoud Barzani is sworn as regional President in Iraqi Kurdistan.
- July 2005. A study compiled by the United Kingdom based non-governmental Iraq Body Count Organisation estimated that almost 25,000 civilians died in Iraq in the war so far (between 20 March 2003 and 19 March 2005).
- August 2005-Draft constitution is endorsed by Shi'a and Kurdish negotiators but not by Sunni representatives.
- September 2005- As many as 1,000 people are feared dead following a stampede during a Shi'a religious ceremony in Baghdad."
"But Iraqi Christians do face a growing sectarian threat. While we are not aware of any officially sponsored discrimination against Christian communities in Iraq, reports of attacks on them are on the increase. … We [FCO] see increasing evidence of sectarian intimidation. Recent examples include threatening notes pushed through doors, death threats to priests and church leaders, posters in the North warning Christians to convert to Islam or leave Iraq or face death and destruction of homes and Islamist websites calling for attacks on all infidels in Iraq. Iraqi Christians are feeling increasingly beleaguered. Church attendance is falling and some families are keeping their children away from school."
"Christians are relocating to Suleimaniya, Arbil and Dohuk provinces only. … Many of the Christians in Basra and Baghdad originally came from the North (Suleimaniya, Arbil and Dohuk as well as Mosul). Under a separate scheme run by the Kurdistan Regional Governments, around 150 families have relocated from Baghdad to Faysh Habur."
"6.229 As stated in a DFID Report, dated July 2005, "Historically Iraq has had one of the best gender equality records in the Middle East, with women playing an active and visible role in political and economic life. … Yet years of conflict, isolation from the international community, economic mismanagement and brutal government have had a very negative impact on Iraqi women. Women now suffer multiple forms of deprivation – social, economic and political.""
"6.270 As mentioned in the British/Danish fact-finding mission report, October 2004, "Sources in the Ministry of Displacement and Migration (MoDM) in Baghdad informed the delegation that single women returning to Iraq from abroad were in a less favourable position compared with women travelling with their family."
6.271 The same report noted that "UNHCR in Amman noted that single women have a more vulnerable situation. Families can protect them, however tribes can target them just as easily as they can protect them."
Collaborators and the MNF (Multi-National Force)
"6.325 The UNHCR in a Return Advisory, dated September 2004, noted that:
"While most security incidents prior to the handover directly targeted soldiers and or nationals of countries participating in the Coalition Forces, threats and attacks over the past six months have been increasingly aimed at Iraqi civilians employed by the UN, NGOs and foreign contractors as well as foreign nationals who work for any of the above. Furthermore, Iraqi intellectuals, medical staff, doctors, journalists, artists, as well as anyone associated with or perceived as supporting the new Interim Iraqi Government (IIG) have also become frequent targets of both harassment and violence. Members of the Iraqi police force, as well as potential police recruits are often the victims of lethal attacks."
6.326 The AI report, dated 25 July 2005, added that "Hundreds of Iraqis have been killed by armed groups because they were perceived as 'traitors' or 'collaborators'. Among them have been translators, drivers and other civilians working for the MNF, civil servants, government officials, judges and journalists. The attacks have sometimes resulted in the killing of people accompanying the 'targets,' including children."
6.327 The same report also noted that "The armed groups are resentful of Kurds and Shi'as for generally having supported the military intervention in Iraq and for cooperating with the MNF."
6.328 The AI report, dated 25 July 2005, however, noted that "On 26 September 2004, the IAMS [International Association of Muslim Scholars] denounced the kidnapping and killing of civilians." [28c] (p7)
6.329 Furthermore, the IWPR article, dated 10 August 2004, observed that an unofficial Islamic court imposes harsh sentences on Iraqis who work for the Americans and their allies. The report stated that "An 'Islamic resistance' court based in Western Iraq has begun to order harsh punishments against Iraqis accused of collaborating with so-called foreign occupiers, inhabitants in the region said.""
OGN January 2006
"3.16.4 Sufficiency of Protection Iraq's council, interim, and elected Government have all been determined to clamp down on terrorism and insurgency. [5.93]However, the rule of law, guarantees of personal security, and protection from human rights abuses vary from location to location. The massive deployment of Iraqi police has won support from many Iraqis, who lived in fear of both bombers and common criminals.
3.16.4 Law and order exists in the Kurdistan Regional Government administered area. Kurdish police and security forces are efficient and the security situation in the self-ruled Kurdish region is significantly different from that in the rest of Iraq. Although it is quite likely that insurgents living in Kurdish towns and cities would use opportunities as they present themselves to exact revenge, the peshmerga presence and vigilance within the KRG area would make this difficult. Successful attacks are rare, primarily due to the vigilance of the Kurdish security forces. Criminality in the KRG area is endemic by Western terms. However, much of the activity is considered by the Iraqi population to be simply a way of earning a living.
3.16.5 Sufficiency of protection in central and Southern Iraq is not currently at a reasonable level, however in the Kurdistan Regional Government area it can be argued that protection is at a reasonably effective level.
"3.16.6 Internal Relocation There is freedom of movement in that there are no formal restrictions within Iraq however there are limitations due to the numerous military and illegal checkpoints. Moreover at the Green Line (the border to the Kurdistan Regional Government area) there is restriction of movement into the three Northern Governorates. Certain cities limit particular ethnic groups; however, Baghdad is accessible for resettlement. The Kurdish area is much more stable than the rest of the country; it is easy to move around. Arab Iraqis are instantly recognised by Iraqi Kurds who view them with suspicion and would not generally welcome them into the KRG area.
3.16.7 Generally there is freedom of movement throughout Iraq; it is unlikely that internal relocation would be unduly harsh for men, and women with male partners or relatives. As a result of the recent rise in Islamic extremism, single women may be unable to move around freely if unaccompanied and may not be able to settle in areas where they have no family ties, as they are unlikely to be able to access resources without support. In assessing this, caseworkers will need to take all relevant factors into account including financial circumstances, health, whether the claimant has a support network.
3.16.8 Christians in Mosul number around 100,000 and make up the largest Christian community in the North, however they have been targeted in this area. Numbering only 10,000 and only 2% of the local population, Christians in Kirkuk fare much better and are well respected by all sides. The Christian community in Basra in the South is small and under much less threat than those in the North. Many Christians, around 1,000 families so far, are relocating back to Sulaimaniyah under a scheme, which provides them with land, housing and jobs. In turn, they will provide skills and investment into the area. It is not considered unduly harsh for Christians to relocate to areas where there are numerous other Christians, or where they are well respected."
"3.16.10 Conclusion a claimant who has a localised threat on the basis that they are a Christian and is unable to acquire protection in their local area, may be able to relocate to an area where that localised threat does not exist. The caseworker will need to take into consideration the nature of the threat and how far it would extend to, and whether it would be unduly harsh to expect the claimant to relocate. In the absence of an internal relocation argument a claim made on these grounds may be well founded and a grant of refugee status may be appropriate." [Emphasis added]
"3.17.8 Conclusion a general fear of Islamic Militants does not of itself give rise to a well-founded fear of persecution, and no government can be expected to guarantee the safety of all its citizens. However, there will be individuals whose fear is over and above the common population because of aspects of their nature that they cannot or should not be expected to change. This assessment will need to be taken based on the merits of the individual case. Moreover, the caseworker will need to take into consideration the nature of the threat and how far it would extend to, and whether it would be unduly harsh to expect the claimant to relocate. For claimants who can demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution by Islamic extremists due to a Convention reason (e.g. their religion or their political opinion, imputed or otherwise) [and who] are unable to acquire protection or relocate internally a grant of asylum will be appropriate."
Evidence from the US State Department
1. Pervasive climate of violence
2. Misappropriation of official authority by sectarian, terrorist, and insurgent groups
3. Arbitrary deprivation of life
5. Torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment
7. Poor conditions in pre-trial detention facilities
8. Arbitrary arrest and detention
9. Denial of fair public trial
10. An immature judicial system lacking capacity
11. Limitations on freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and association due to terrorist and militia violence restrictions on religious freedom
12. Large number of internally displaced persons (IDPs)
13. Lack of transparency and widespread corruption at all levels of government
14. Constraints on nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)
15. Discrimination against women, ethnic and religious minorities
"Civic life and the social fabric remained under intense strain from the insurgency, as well as from a continuing shortage of basic services and staples. Despite this pressure, the IIG in 6 months set and kept to a legal and electoral course based on respect for political rights. This included most importantly the right of citizens to change peacefully their government through nationwide, free, and fair elections. The development of a Human Rights Ministry, the ongoing empowerment of women, and the explosive growth of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and civic associations reflected a governmental commitment to human rights. The Government's success in building an accommodating structure for the exercise of civil liberties, although burdened by the heritage of dictatorship and disregard for law, was shown clearly in the citizens' embrace of freedoms of speech and press, peaceful assembly, and association and religion. While major problems still remained, they were of a far different magnitude and nature than previously."
"The [transitional legislation] provides for freedom of thought, conscience and religious belief and practice. While the government endorsed these rights, its efforts to prevent or remedy violations were hampered by substantial politically and religiously driven violence between Sunni and Shi'a [and] by harassment of Christians. Deficiencies in security force capabilities and in the rule of law made it difficult for the justice system to investigate or address violations of these rights. … Government leaders spoke often of the need for all citizens to unite regardless of religious orientation in the face of terrorism and repeatedly emphasised their commitment to equal treatment for all religions and ethnicities…
According to a number of estimates the Christians in the country decreased from 1.4 million in 1987 to approximately 750,000 during the year with Catholics comprising the majority. According to church leaders in Arbil and Mosul Christians in the North account for roughly 30% of the country's Christian population. Christian religious leaders estimate approximately 750,000 Iraqi Christians live abroad. The on-going insurgency significantly harmed the ability of all religions to practice their faith…
There were allegations that the KRG engaged in discriminatory behaviour against religious minorities… Assyrian Christians also allege that the KDP dominated judiciary routinely discriminated against non-Muslims and legal judgments in their favour were not enforced…
During the year members of Catholic, Assyrian and Armenian orthodox churches as well as clerics left Shi'a-dominated Basra because of religious and social economic discrimination and because of fear for their lives due to the unstable security situation for Christians. Extremists, including terrorist groups and militia members targeted many individuals because of their religious orientation and very conservative elements of society targeted others because of their secular leanings. Many also were victims of general lawlessness that permitted insurgents and criminal gangs, as well as those in police uniform to victimise citizens with impunity. In addition to kidnapping, individuals were the victims of harassment intimidation and murder. Some Christians in Basra Reportedly were faced to pay for protection for their personal welfare.
Women and girls were reportedly often threatened for not wearing the traditional headscarf (hijab), assaulted with acid for non-compliance and sometimes killed for refusing to cover their heads or for wearing Western style clothing. Some women were reportedly denied employment and educational opportunity because they were non-Muslim or did not present themselves as sufficiently conservative. "[Emphasis added]
"Some extremist groups targeted women by kidnapping and terrorising them in an effort to force them to refrain from working in public and remain at home, wear veils, and adhere to a very conservative interpretation of Islam. "
Dr Alan George's expert report
"54. As recently as September 2005 the entire lay leadership of the Anglican Church in Iraq went missing and were feared dead after being attacked while returning by road from a trip to Jordan although it would appear they were not targeted specifically because they were Christians."
UNHCR guidelines October 2005
"27. Religious minorities including Christians and Mandaeans represent approximately 3% of an estimated Iraqi population of 24 million. The fall of the former régime has seen explosion of Islamist extremist movement and militias, which target among others members of religious minorities. The latter have become the regular victims of discrimination, harassment, and at times persecution with incidents ranging from intimidation and threats to the destruction of property, kidnapping and murder.
28. Iraq's Christian population includes among others, members of the Assyrian, Chaldean, Armenian and Catholic sects. Many Assyrian Christians originate from the Governorate of Nimewa whose capital, Mosul, is the second largest city in Iraq. Other Assyrians, including some members of the Assyrian Democratic Party or sympathisers thereof, originate from Baghdad and its original surroundings. Many of Iraq's other Christians originate from Basrah. Most Iraqi Christians claim fear of persecution from insurgent groups (e.g. Ansar Al-Sunna) and Islamic militia such as the Bardr organisation or the Mehdi Army, which have substantial control of the streets in various major cities and towns.
29. Since the fall of the former régime, the largely secular environment that previously existed in Iraq has been seriously eroded… While much of the hardship and harassment that they report that they face is symptomatic of the situation of general insecurity faced by all Iraqis in present-day Iraq, members of the Christian minority nevertheless appear to be particularly targeted. Iraqi Christians feel especially apprehensive about the overwhelming presence of extremist Islamic groups and armed militias whose display of intolerance towards non-Muslims has become a nearly daily feature in Iraq.
30. Resentment towards Christians appears to be particularly vehement in the South and in the so-called Sunni triangle where rising extremist attitudes are fuelling the trend towards a stricter interpretation of Islam.
31. Whilst discriminatory acts against Christians do not always amount to persecution per se, the results are combined and continuous discriminatory measures must be assessed carefully in each case, since they could amount to persecution on cumulative grounds. Particular consideration should be given to those cases where discrimination creates unreasonable obstacles [and] makes it impossible to earn a livelihood or enjoy socio-economic rights, or has created a climate of fear, insecurity or apprehension for the individual concerned." [Emphasis added]
"42. Iraqis who previously worked for, presently work for, or have any type of association with the MNF or any other type of international organization or company are perceived by the insurgency as condoning and supporting the occupation of Iraq and have been indiscriminately targeted since the fall of the former régime. Since there are no clear indicators regarding how insurgent groups choose their targets, the only distinguishing factors seems to be any type of affiliation, perceived or real, with the forces considered to be 'occupiers', although other factors such as an individual's religion, ethnicity or gender may, in the eyes of perpetrators, constitute additional criteria for targeting specific persons.
43. Acts committed against employees or perceived supporters of the MNF or international organizations or companies may vary from verbal harassment and threats to individuals and their families to stop working for the 'enemy' to kidnapping, physical attacks and even murder. Neither the local authorities nor the MNF are capable of granting proper security to their respective local nationals and employees. Annex 7 of that Report deals with internal flight or relocation alternative and advises against the possibility of internal relocation in all parts of central or Southern Iraq, as it is considered neither relevant nor reasonable. In the three Northern Governorates, it records that the KRG authorities are "implementing strict controls on the presence of non-Kurdish persons in their areas depending upon the applicant especially his or her ethnic and political profile he/she may well not be allowed to relocate to the three Northern Governorates for security or political reasons. While certain factors seem to lead clearly to a denial of admission, e.g. form of Ba'ath Party membership or a criminal record at times decisions seem to be taken in a discretionary manner and it is difficult to establish clear criteria to predict who will be admitted or rejected."
"13…until the status of Kirkuk and other disputed areas has been addressed, any population movements to that area could exacerbate already existing tensions, and lead to further displacement. In addition, the Turkomen, Kurdish and Arab communities in Kirkuk have recently decided to form an IDP Committee, which will be tasked with among other issues verifying that potential returnees to Kirkuk are able to prove prior residence in Kirkuk before they will be admitted to the city. Persons who originate from elsewhere in Iraq and are unable to prove past links to Kirkuk will therefore have difficulty legally accessing the city unless they are supported by the Kirkuk authorities, as priority will be given to former residents who wish to return rather than to new arrivals."
"Systematic low-level ethnic cleansing has driven thousands of Assyrian Christians from their homes. Our churches have been fire-bombed and our women forced to wear the hijab".
"Some insurgent groups have targeted women who are politicians, civil servants, journalists, women's rights activists, who work as cleaners or translators for foreign governments or militaries. They have also attacked them for what they considered immoral or un-Islamic behaviour like dancing, socialising with men, or not wearing a hijab (the Islamic headscarf) and some groups have abducted and at times killed foreign women to pressure government or humanitarian organisations into leaving Iraq.
Not all of these attacks are on account of gender. Many of these attacks appear to have been motivated primarily by the victims' perceived connection to the foreign military presence or the current Iraqi government as described in the chapters in this report that cover those targeted groups.
The attacks against women's rights activists and women who exhibit behaviour deemed immoral or un-Islamic however do seem motivated by the fact that the targets were women or helping women.
In general, the violence and lack of security as well as religious cultural conservativism are now having a major impact on Iraqi women, who once enjoyed a prominent rôle in their country's public life. The danger of kidnapping and assaults keeps many professional women at home and limits their participation in the country's evolving political institutions. "
"Women with Western dress and progressive ideas have been attacked. The abduction and murders of these prominent women have sent a ripple of fear through local communities. Although the press has covered the stories of high profile foreign aid workers Iraqi women have seen members of their own communities, pharmacists, lawyers, council women assassinated. The effect is chilling and threatens the public participation of Iraq's most educated women…the fear of violence, abduction and rape have emptied the streets of women and caused disruption to education as children are also increasingly kept at home. Growing numbers of women are also leaving the country".
In an interview with Ms Yanar Muhammad, who founded the Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq she said that she received death threats as early as 2004 after defending women's rights on Iraqi television. She was told: "Stop speaking out for women's rights or we will kill you". An E-mail signed by Jaysh Al-Sahaba (Army of the Prophet's Companions) stated that because of her psychologically disturbed ideas they would have to kill her and crucify her. Ms Muhammad told the press: "It sounded to me like a serious warning". In this context, we remind ourselves of C's involvement with Beit Nahrain, a movement for the rights of Assyrians and women in Iran. That concludes our review of the evidence before the Tribunal.
65.1.1 Male Christians. We have not heard full argument on the risk for men based on Christianity, or upon alternatively Chaldo-Assyrian ethnicity. The country guidance decision in RA stands in those respects, but this decision modifies the Tribunal's country guidance position in relation to Christian women in Iraq and a detailed consideration of the position of male Chaldo-Assyrian Christians is for another decision. The evidence of risk to an ordinary male Iraqi Christian with family members still in Iraq shows progressive deterioration due to the ongoing hostilities in Iraq under the control of the MNF but we reach no firm conclusion as to whether it yet amounts to persecution or breaches Article 3 ECHR.
65.1.2 Christians. Christian observance outside the home is increasingly difficult with few Churches available and harassment for those entering and leaving them. Many Christians have left Iraq, and others like this appellant go to Church only irregularly, preferring to practise their religion in the safety of their homes. There is a particular difficulty for women, since as Christians they do not wish to cover their heads with the hijab, which makes them conspicuous on the street and at work.
65.1.3 Association with the MNF. Those (male or female) who work in prominent positions in companies associated with the MNF or doing business with the West are at risk of death or kidnapping, they will be perceived both as wealthy (and thus worth kidnapping), and more dangerously, as collaborating with the occupying forces and if unable to relocate, there is a real risk of persecution or death for such people and their family members. Again, in Refugee Convention terms, the risk relates to their perceived political opinion as collaborators with the occupying forces, as Iraqis perceive the MNF to be.
65.1.4 Chaldo-Assyrians. Chaldo-Assyrians are a specific, very small ethnic group. They speak Assyrian, and if educated, may be English speakers. They do not speak Arabic or Kurdish. They are likely to be Christians.
(i) Women. Before the Iraq war, Iraqi women played a full part in civic life, able to work and to campaign on behalf of women's rights. Those who are still attempting to do so are now at enhanced risk, as are their family members. Professional women cannot expect the social freedom they had previously and may be obliged to remain at home. Many educated women have already left Iraq.
(ii) Non-hijab wearers. Women who, as Christians, or because of Westernised views, do not wear the hijab will be easily identifiable and at increased risk on that account. The risk is one of perceived political opinion (Western or MNF support/ collaboration) and/or religion (un-Islamic behaviour). Women living in Iraq who refuse to wear the hijab risk discrimination and harassment on a daily basis, and some will suffer kidnappings and death. The risks from this factor alone do not reach the level required for persecution and remain, just, at the level of discrimination and harassment, except, on the evidence before us, in Basra. The situation has deteriorated and may well deteriorate further to a level at which not wearing the hijab could be sufficient on its own, but that is not the position today. However, the addition of one other factor can be enough to tip the balance and engage international protection.
The facts of LM's case
Senior Immigration Judge Gleeson
AK (Iraq – Christians – Risk) Iraq CG  UKIAT 00298
RA (Christians) Iraq CG  UKIAT 00091
AA (Involuntary returns to Zimbabwe) Zimbabwe CG  UKAIT 00144
Batayav v SSHD (No 2)  EWCA Civ 366
Individual documents relating to LM
Copy of Coalition Provisional Authority travel document
Salary statement for June 2005
Ministerial order, Republic of Iraq, Ministry of oil
Copy of LM's passport
Country background documents
Expert Report of Dr Alan George
US Department of State: Iraq Country Report on International Religious Freedom 2005
UNHCR Guidelines relating to the Eligibility of Iraqi Asylum-Seekers
UNHCR: Christian women in Iraq
US Department of State: Iraq Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2005
House of Lords: Iraq: Women and Religious Minorities
October 2005 Iraq COI Report and September 2005 OGN
US State Department Report 2006
List of "Reported" Assyrians murdered in Iraq in 2005
Extract from 'Zinda' Magazine
No votes in Nineveh, Iraqi Assyrians are victims of Kurdish ethnic cleansing
Twelve killed as bombers attack Christians in Iraq, The Guardian
Iraq's Christians Consider Fleeing as Attacks on Them Rise
Iraqi Christians fear Muslim wrath, Washington Times