By Saurya Cherfi | The Irish Times |
A Zimbabwean man who claimed his life would be in danger if returned to his home country has won a High Court action against a decision of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal to refuse him subsidiary protection in Ireland.
Subsidiary protection is a form of protection which may apply to those who do not fit the strict definition of a refugee but who would be at risk of serious harm if sent back to their home country.
Mr Justice Richard Humphreys said the man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was the victim of a kidnapping and beatings by government supporters in his local area.
The man, in his late twenties, came to Ireland about 10 years ago and had unsuccessfully applied for asylum. Arising out of that refusal he applied for subsidiary protection here.
The judge said while the man’s credibility had been accepted by the tribunal, it found there was no risk of future serious harm and he could be relocated to another part of Zimbabwe where his grandmother lives.
The tribunal had also found that State protection did not need to be considered and there were no compelling reasons arising from past serious harm to grant his application. The man had then challenged that decision before the High Court.
The judge said the applicant took issue with the tribunal’s finding that he could be relocated. He also claimed the tribunal was incorrect to say he was not at risk of serious harm.
In his judgment Mr Justice Humphreys said that for a finding of internal relocation to be valid, the tribunal must consider whether the risk of future harm arises from the State or, for instance, from a local branch of a national ruling party.
He said if the risk of future serious harm arose from the State, it could therefore exist throughout the whole country.
The judge said that in his view the tribunal had not considered this approach and its decision not to grant the applicant subsidiary protection must be quashed. He remitted the case for reconsideration by a different tribunal member.