CIIK (a minor) v Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, Ireland and the Attorney General

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Respondent/Defendant:Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, Ireland and the Attorney General
Court/s:High Court
Citation/s:[2015] IEHC 77
Nature of Proceedings:Judicial Review
Judgment Date/s:11 Feb 2014
Judge:Eagar J.
Category:Refugee Law
Keywords:Asylum, Asylum (Application for), Minor, Persecution, Refugee, Refugee Law
Country of Origin:Nigeria
URL:https://www.courts.ie/acc/alfresco/29c69151-6680-4402-93b9-d4d934fc8b47/2015_IEHC_77_1.pdf/pdf#view=fitH
Geographic Focus:Ireland

Facts:
The applicant was an Irish-born Nigerian citizen whose mother applied for asylum on her behalf. She claimed that her mother-in-law had wanted to circumcise the applicant. She also said that she had wanted to circumcise her eldest daughter and had kidnapped her with that objective in mind, but that she had managed to extricate her from her grasp. Her mother-in-law had since passed away but she maintained that her husband’s family would fulfil her wishes and circumcise the applicant.

The applicant’s mother had previously unsuccessfully sought asylum on her own behalf based on her alleged membership of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).  Her claim was found not to be credible.

Having investigated her application, the Refugee Applications Commissioner recommended that she not be declared a refugee. She appealed to the Tribunal. The Tribunal affirmed the Commissioner’s recommendation and she challenged its decision by way of judicial review.

The applicant contended that the Tribunal had erred in its assessment of credibility and in failing to have regard to relevant country of origin information and the availability of state protection. The Tribunal contended that where her claim had been found to lack subjective credibility, there was no need for it to engage in pointless examination of matters such as country of origin information and state protection. It emphasised that the central credibility issue in relation to the risk of the applicant’s being subjected to circumcision was that the fact that her mother continued to reside with the applicant’s father and yet implausibly claimed to be unsure of his intentions in relation to requiring her to undergo the procedure.

Reasoning:
The court stated that it had considered the findings on credibility made by the Tribunal in the light of the judgment of Cooke J. in I.R. v. Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform& Ors [2009] IEHC 353 and, having done so, was satisfied that they had been appropriately made by the Tribunal.

Decision:
In the circumstances, the court declined to grant the applicant leave to challenge the Tribunal’s decision and dismissed her application.

Principles:

Where an application for international protection lacks subjective credibility, there is not necessarily any obligation on a protection decision-maker to consult country of origin information pertaining to the general issues raised in it before deciding to reject it.

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