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Refugee status not lost because part of home country is now safe


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Official headnote to MS (Art 1C(5)- Mogadishu) [2018] UKUT 196 (IAC):

The Secretary of State is not entitled to cease a person’s refugee status pursuant to Article 1C(5) of the Refugee Convention solely on the basis of a change in circumstances in one part of the country of proposed return.

The background is that the appellant had been recognised as a refugee and was convicted of various offences. The Home Office response was to attempted to withdraw his refugee status on the basis it was now safe in Mogadishu even if still not in the appellant’s home area of Kismayo.

The Upper Tribunal sided with the appellant, holding that there is “a very significant philosophical and indeed practical difference between the grant and the cessation of refugee status”. It would be “contrary both to logic and principle” if it were easier to cease a person’s refugee status than to make a grant of refugee status.

It is very concerning that the Home Office is attempting to roll back the boundaries of refugee protection in some unsympathetic cases such as this one when their success would lead to seriously weakened protection status for all refugees. It is an extremely unattractive and unprincipled litigation strategy and the Upper Tribunal’s approach here is to be commended.


Interested in refugee law? You might like Colin's book, imaginatively called "Refugee Law" and published by Bristol University Press.

Communicating important legal concepts in an approachable way, this is an essential guide for students, lawyers and non-specialists alike.

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Colin Yeo

Colin Yeo

Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder of the Free Movement immigration law website.