UK Home Office Update: Guidance on Libyan Asylum Seekers

This month, the Home Office published a revised guidance for case workers  on handling claims made by nationals of Libya, as well as country of origin information (COI) about Libya. The guidance includes information concerning granting of asylum, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave and whether in the event of a claim being refused, it is likely to be recognized as ‘clearly unfounded’ under s94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. The guidance has been updated in this month as a result of recent determinations made in asylum cases.  Here we will discuss AT and Others the leading case in this area.

Libya’s Country Guidance Case of AT and Others

AT and Others (Article 15c; risk categories) Libya CG [2014] UKUT 318 (IAC)

The appeal hearing was held at the Upper Tribunal between the 18-22 November 2013. It involved 4 Appellants who are Libyan nationals.

One of the Appellants, AT was born in Tripoli, Libya. He entered the UK on 11 March 2011, claiming asylum on arrival. His appeal against the respondent’s decision of 30 March 2011 to refuse leave to enter was dismissed by a judge of the First-tier Tribunal in a determination heard on 26 May 2011. Permission to appeal was granted by a Senior Immigration Judge (as then was) on the basis of the First-tier judge’s treatment of Article 15(c) of Directive 2004/83/EC in the light of the conflict in Libya at that time. 

The majority of the population of Libya either worked for, had some association with, or has a member of the family who worked for or had an association with the Gaddafi regime. Such employment or association alone is not sufficient to establish a risk of persecution or Article 3 ill-treatment on return.(para.125(5).

The Upper Tribunal concluded that a person at risk on account of their actual or perceived associated with the Gaddafi regime would not, in general, have available to them the option of internal relocation [para 215(18)].

Hatred and resentment against Gaddafi, and all those associated with his regime, is widespread throughout the country. Country information suggests that persons suspected or known to have closely supported Gaddafi, his forces and/or his regime have been taken captive from the streets and at checkpoints. It is unlikely that a person of this profile will be able to internally relocate in order to escape the risk of persecution.

2013 Report on the Libyan Justice System

In an April 2013 report on the Libyan justice system, the International Crisis Group observes that “Gaddafi-era victims, distrusting an apparatus they view as a relic, take matters in their hands; some armed groups, sceptical of the state’s ability to carry out justice, arbitrarily detain, torture or assassinate presumed Gaddafi loyalists”. The report continues “the mere possession of pro-Gaddafi songs or photographs saved on a mobile telephone often justified immediate detention, as did hailing from a town or community accused of siding with Gaddafi forces during the war. In many cases presumed ties to the former regime appear to have been little more than pretexts to retaliate against people whom the armed brigades held personal or professional grudges or as a means of extorting a ransom”. The International Crisis Group report further notes that the government is unable to control armed groups from exacting justice against former Gaddafi supporters.

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