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You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> United Kingdom Asylum and Immigration Tribunal >> RT (2000 Procedure Rule 22(7))Cameroon [2005] UKIAT 00078 (31 March 2005)
URL: http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKIAT/2005/00078.html
Cite as: [2005] UKAIT 00078, [2005] UKIAT 78, [2005] UKIAT 00078

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    RT (2000 Procedure Rule 22(7)) Cameroon [2005] UKIAT 00078

    IMMIGRATION APPEAL TRIBUNAL

    Date of hearing: 31 January 2005

    Date Determination notified: 31st March 2005

    Before

    Mr D K Allen Vice-President
    Mrs R M Bray JP
    Mr M G Taylor CBE

    Between

     

    RT
    APPELLANT
    and
     
    Secretary of State for the Home Department RESPONDENT

    For the Appellant: Ms L Hooper, Counsel instructed by Derby Law Centre
    For the Respondent: Mr C Trent, Home Office Presenting Officer

    DETERMINATION AND REASONS

  1. The appellant is a citizen of Cameroon. He appeals to the Tribunal with permission against the determination of an Adjudicator, Mr A O'Malley, in which he dismissed his appeal against the Secretary of State's decision of 24 May 2001 to issue directions for his removal from the United Kingdom and refusing asylum.
  2. This appeal has a complicated procedural history. Following the decision to issue removal directions and the refusal of asylum, the appellant's appeal against that decision came before Mr O'Malley on 1 November 2001 and his determination was promulgated on 16 November 2001. In that determination he found the appellant to be essentially credible, but concluded that there was no Refugee Convention reason in the case and nor did he face a real risk of breach of his human rights on return to Cameroon.
  3. Permission to appeal was granted by a Vice-President on 3 January 2002. The essence of the challenge was that the Adjudicator was in error in concluding that there was no Refugee Convention reason, that there was not available appropriate protection, and that the findings on risk were flawed.
  4. The matter came before a Tribunal chaired by the then President Collins J on 11 April 2002. In its determination the Tribunal stated that there was not a Refugee Convention reason and that an asylum appeal could not succeed. As regards the human rights issues, the Tribunal did not come to a concluded view concerning risk on return and protection, but was concerned that the Adjudicator had not considered the issue of relocation in the context of the Human Rights Convention. The Tribunal acted under Rule 22 (7) of the Immigration and Asylum Appeals (Procedure) Rules 2000. That states as follows:
  5. "Where the Tribunal decides to admit any evidence under this rule, it may direct that it be given, either

    (a) orally, in which case the Tribunal may take the evidence itself or remit the appeal to the same or another Adjudicator for the taking of that evidence; or
    (b) in writing, in which case it shall be given in any manner and at any time that the Tribunal may direct.

    The Tribunal stated that in order to decide whether there was a real risk of treatment contrary to Article 3, the question of internal relocation might be relevant and as a consequence it was necessary to obtain further evidence from the Adjudicator in relation to that issue. It was stated that if the appellant desired to give further evidence then he should be permitted to do so to enable that question to be answered. The appeal was adjourned part-heard.

  6. The matter came back in front of Mr O'Malley on 12 August 2002. He heard evidence from the appellant. He noted that evidence in his determination. He came to the conclusion at paragraph 10 of that determination that it would be unduly harsh to require the appellant to move to another part of the Cameroon and it was not reasonable to expect him to locate elsewhere.
  7. It appears that thereafter Mr O'Malley's second determination was perceived to be a conclusion of the matter and the file was sent to storage. Clearly that was wrong, as can be seen from the determination of the Tribunal which made it clear, as we have noted above, that the matter was adjourned part-heard. There was a further complication that by this time this administrative error was discovered Collins J had ceased to be President of the Tribunal and it was not feasible therefore for the appeal to continue to be treated as being part-heard. Accordingly a transfer order was made by the Deputy President on 15 December 2003 ordering that the appeal be considered afresh but taking account of all the material now available by a different panel from that which had sat previously.
  8. The matter came before the Tribunal on 13 September 2004. Ms Louise Hooper, instructed by Derby Law Centre, appeared on behalf of the appellant, and Mr M Blundell appeared on behalf of the Secretary of State.
  9. There was some discussion as to the status of Mr O'Malley's second determination. It also transpired that there was on the file a draft respondent's notice to which it appeared no consideration had ever been given.
  10. There was an adjournment to enable Mr Blundell to enquire as to the action proposed with regard to the respondent's notice. It appeared that it had not in fact been formally lodged and that this was a conscious decision as it was contended that in sending the appeal back to the Adjudicator under Rule 22(7) the Tribunal had wanted Mr O'Malley to receive evidence and not to make findings on the evidence. He had purported to make a finding of undue harshness. If that was right then it had to be questioned to what extent he had overstepped his task and it was argued that in making a finding of undue hardship he had gone too far but it had to be questioned where the dividing line was. Mr Blundell understood Ms Hooper to say that the dividing line was established by the risk of physical ill-treatment at checkpoints, but the problem was that the appellant was from Douala, and going from there to elsewhere did not necessarily arise if he was returned to the capital which was prima facie a safe area so there would be no need to go through the checkpoints.
  11. Ms Hooper stated her view that the status of the second determination was at issue and she argued that the determination of Collins J was part of the determination of the Tribunal as a whole, and in this regard she placed reliance on Rule 45(2)(a) of the 2000 Procedure Rules which states as follows:
  12. "Where any proceedings are transferred to another Adjudicator in accordance with paragraph (1)

    (a) any notice or other document which is sent or given to or by the Adjudicator from whom the proceedings were transferred shall be deemed to have been sent or given to or by the Adjudicator to whom the appeal is transferred."
  13. The matter was adjourned to be listed in October for mention for this matter to be ventilated further.
  14. At the aforementioned hearing on 14 October 2004 Ms Hooper again appeared on behalf of the appellant, and Ms Pal appeared on behalf of the Secretary of State. At this point an Article 8 claim was mentioned and it was clear that evidence would have to be provided by the appellant and his partner.
  15. The matter came before the Tribunal again on 13 December 2004. Ms Hooper again appeared on behalf of the appellant, and Mr C Trent appeared on behalf of the Secretary of State. Miss Hooper referred us to the appellant's statements and exhibits and attachments from various organisations and a letter from his GP.
  16. Mr Trent referred to the respondent's notice and the wording of Rule 22(7)(a). He contended that the words "for the taking of that evidence" referred to the sole function of the Adjudicator in that context. It contrasted with the wording of Rule 23 which made it clear that the matter was remitted for determination in the circumstances envisaged in that rule. He argued that paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 of Mr O'Malley's second determination contained findings that were open to him on the evidence but that the conclusions at paragraph 5 onwards were not open to him. Credibility was for the Tribunal in Mr Trent's view since the Tribunal could alternatively take evidence itself. The Tribunal was seized of the appeal. Reliance had not been placed on sub-paragraph (b) of Rule 22(7) whereby the evidence could have been given by written statement and it would not be possible to rely on demeanour in such a case.
  17. Ms Hooper submitted that the rule was unclear. She argued that it could not be looked at in isolation from the determination of Collins J. Clearly it was the Adjudicator's role to deal with the evidence. It would be very odd if all he was required to do was to write down the evidence as the Tribunal could as easily do that. Ms Hooper wondered whether the rule's purpose was to allow an Adjudicator to complete his findings on evidence where otherwise full findings had been made, rather than the Tribunal wishing to deal with all the evidence from the start. As a matter of common sense she suggested that if an Adjudicator was only required to write down the evidence you would simply get a written statement and there must be a reason for sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) existing separately.
  18. Mr Trent suggested that with regard to paragraphs 5 and 6 of Collins J's judgment, especially the last five lines of paragraph 5, the Tribunal expected to make the findings on undue hardship. The matter had been adjourned part-heard.
  19. Ms Hooper suggested that this was more problematic and it was probably better left to the Tribunal. Again it was a problem of the drafting of the Rules. In her view the Adjudicator was entitled to make findings of fact on the evidence and from those findings the Tribunal was entitled to find that relocation would be unduly harsh.
  20. We adjourned to consider the issue. We concluded that the purpose of the adjournment and the direction of the Tribunal in this case was for the Adjudicator to take evidence including making findings on the credibility or otherwise of such evidence but not concluding the legal point which is whether that evidence indicated in this instance that it would be unduly harsh for the appellant to relocate. In effect therefore we concluded that Mr O'Malley had exceeded his powers in determining at paragraph 10 of his second determination that it would be unduly harsh to require the appellant to move to another part of the Cameroon and that it was not reasonable to expect him to locate elsewhere. Paragraphs 2 and 3 of that determination contain a summary of the evidence given to him by the appellant and paragraph 4 summarises Ms Hooper's submissions. The Adjudicator thereafter assessed the appellant's evidence and noted aspects of the objective evidence at paragraph 5. He made findings about the problems the appellant would no doubt have in finding a job and earning a living in a place where he had no support from his own ethnic group particularly as a relatively unskilled worker who would have no doubt to compete with a large number of people who, unlike him, would be native to the area. Thereafter he noted objective evidence concerning problems of moving around Cameroon and the difficulties with roadblocks and the problems he would have obtaining help from the police as he would have to explain his connection with the Douala killings.
  21. In our view the Adjudicator's role was limited to noting the evidence and making findings on whether or not the Adjudicator found it to be credible, as we have noted above. It was not part of his role to make findings on that evidence: that we consider was a matter to the Tribunal, as envisaged initially by Collins J at paragraph 6 of his determination. It is clear to our mind that this was what was anticipated by Collins J in the final sentence of paragraph 5 of his determination. There he said the following:
  22. "But we do need evidence from which we can judge whether there would be undue hardship in expecting the appellant to locate elsewhere in the Cameroons or whether there is any other reason apart from the fear of the ability of the families to find him and to deal with him which would mean that it was not reasonable to expect him to locate elsewhere."

  23. This in our view delineates very clearly and properly the differing roles of the Adjudicator and the Tribunal in the context of paragraph 22(7) of the 2000 Procedure Rules.
  24. Thereafter Mr Trent sought permission to cross-appeal out of time under Rule 18(3) of the 2002 Procedure Rules.
  25. Ms Hooper said that she appreciated Mr Trent's difficulties but argued that the notice had not been served on the day of the hearing and earlier it had been indicated by Mr Blundell that reliance would not be placed on the draft respondent's notice. With regard to the reference in the respondent's notice to the Tribunal determination in AL (Afghanistan) [2003] UKIAT 00076, she did not agree with the reasoning in this necessarily. Ultimately she did not object to allowing the respondent's notice but asked that her concerns be noted.
  26. We decided that it would be proper in the circumstances to allow the respondent's notice and therefore that it could be argued that the Adjudicator erred in applying the wrong test with regard to relocation. The remaining issues before us concerned the Human Rights Convention. It is clear from the judgment of Collins J on the appeal against Mr O'Malley's first determination what view the Tribunal took of that point of the Refugee Convention argument and we were minded to take the same view of that issue.
  27. With regards to Article 8 Ms Hooper made the point that these issues only arose after Mr O'Malley's second determination and that it was a case under the 1999 Act.
  28. Mr Trent undertook not to certify with regard to an Article 8 claim that might be brought.
  29. In the light of that Ms Hooper stated that she would not pursue the Article 8 issue before the Tribunal at this time.
  30. Thereafter Ms Hooper referred us to the initial grounds of appeal. She did not rely on the grounds concerning risk on account of membership of the Bassa tribe. She relied on paragraph 3 of the grounds but not with regard to the tribal connections. She also relied on Ground 3(c). She also referred to what Collins J had said about what needed to be determined, the question of whether there was a risk of ill-treatment on return and if so what degree of protection was available.
  31. She referred to paragraph 11 of Mr O'Malley's first determination. This contained his findings of fact. The incident of the later demonstrations occurred as had been stated by the appellant and a mob had come to his house and ransacked it and set it on fire. The Adjudicator also found at paragraph 13 of his first determination that the appellant's cousin ( ) became a target because she was an original complainant and because her boyfriend was involved in the arrest and the suspected murders. The boyfriend had subsequently been sentenced to sixteen months' imprisonment, having been found guilty of disobeying orders. The house and its occupants had become a focus for public anger. These matters were accepted at the end of paragraph 13. There was nothing to prove that the appellant's cousin had reappeared and if she had it would be clear evidence of safety, but it was hard to prove a negative.
  32. The death threats and the attacks on and destruction of the house amounted to ill-treatment. It was not clear whether that was challenged; it had not been up to now.
  33. At that point the appellant had fled Cameroon in fear of his life. The Adjudicator had then found that there was no Convention reason. As regards paragraph 16 of the determination the Adjudicator had considered the human rights issues. As regards future risk he had not taken into account the past ill-treatment and gave no reasons as to why he did not believe the appellant would face the same problems on return.
  34. Ms Hooper then addressed us on the issue of current risk. She referred us to the original skeleton argument at paragraph 5(v). Two of the boys who had been killed were the sons of one of the appellant's friends, so he was known personally to at least one of the fathers. She also referred to paragraph 6(i). There had been a closed trial. There were lesser sentences, including that imposed on the cousin's boyfriend, and others had been acquitted. The complainants were therefore not satisfied that they had got justice. That was the only publicly available evidence of which Ms Hooper was aware. The active interest in the disappearance of the nine children remained and there was nothing to indicate that their desire for revenge or justice had been satisfied. She accepted that it was difficult, three years on, to prove conclusively that there was still a risk to the appellant, but there was enough to show a reasonable degree of likelihood of ongoing interest. Clearly he would be known to them and was therefore at risk. There was no evidence of a change in the circumstances since his past ill-treatment, for example somebody being found guilty on a serious charge. They had not seen justice.
  35. The other issue upon which Ms Hooper addressed us was protection. The Adjudicator noted that the appellant had not reported the matter to the police. The appellant had dealt with that at B6 in answer to Question 4 where he said that the police were aware and did not come to protect his home. He had said similar things in interview. Also more relevantly, as a matter of law, he did not have to report to the police for the Tribunal to find that there was an absence of protection, and it was clear that the demonstrations were a matter of public knowledge and the police had attempted to intervene, having dispersed the weekly demonstrations. The boyfriend was a captain in a now dispersed operational command, so he was high up in the security forces. His girlfriend was being targeted, but they could not protect their house. There was clear evidence of a failure to protect. Clearly the appellant was previously of interest and was threatened and it was not just the burning down of the house but it was the cousin's house from which the gas bottle was stolen. As a parent one might well conclude that the people who initially reported the theft were responsible for the deaths of the children. Otherwise why would they act as they did in going to the house.
  36. The only change in circumstances was the lapse of time. The C9 group had not disappeared in that time. There was nothing in any of the latest material to show a change in circumstances. This was a very particular and very individual case and only return would decide what actually happened and this was too big a risk to take. It would be very unfortunate if it was decided now by the Tribunal that the lack of publicly available evidence meant that he failed when the delay was the Appellate Authority's fault.
  37. One could not be sure that he would be targeted on return. Miss Hooper relied on what was said in her skeleton argument about protection and referred us to the decision of the Court of Appeal in Bagdanavicius. The appellant was a law-abiding citizen with problems from a mob seeking justice due to state activities and there was a high duty to protect in the circumstances. In Bagdanavicius the authorities were aware of the risk. The US report referred at page 3 of 22 to mob violence and this occurred even across the street from the police station, and the other case was of relevance in this regard also. There were therefore instances of mob violence leading to death and generalised information concerning violence in Cameroon which was relevant to protection for the appellant. They had been unable to assist him although it was a very high-profile case.
  38. With regard to the second determination of Mr O'Malley, Ms Hooper relied on the second skeleton argument. The Adjudicator's findings of fact were summarised at paragraph 14 of that skeleton argument. Sub-paragraph (iv) was of particular relevance, where the Adjudicator had found that the appellant was likely to encounter physical danger from the security forces in travelling from his own area to another for the purpose of relocation. As regards AL, even on the Adjudicator's findings it was contended that he was at risk of a breach of Article 3 on return on attempting to relocate. She referred us to the decision of the Court of Appeal in AE and FE with regard to relocation where it was said that it was necessary to prevent a person being sent to circumstances where they were compelled to return to their place of origin, so a comparison had to be made in order to prevent indirect refoulement.
  39. Mr Trent raised the point that it was likely that the appellant would be returned to Yaounde.
  40. Ms Hooper contended that it could be assumed that Yaounde was Francophone and if it was found that the appellant could be returned to Yaounde in safety then the issue was whether he could realistically remain there and if not he would have to return to his home area.
  41. Upon consideration Ms Hooper was unhappy with the fact that return to Yaounde was raised at this stage. It had been open to the Home Office to raise this when the Adjudicator considered relocation. Also as it had not been dealt with before she could not deal with it now when it was unclear for example what Yaounde's ethnic breakdown was. If the C9 group complained against the government they could go to Yaounde where the government was. The Bamileke which was the C9 group were a dominant tribe favoured by the government whereas the appellant's tribe were mainly in the south-west and the tribes discriminated. This was relevant to the viability of remaining in Douala.
  42. At this point we considered it was appropriate to adjourn in order for further evidence to be obtained about return or returnability to Yaounde and the situation that the appellant might face there in the context of the issue of relocation.
  43. We reconvened on 31 January 2005. Ms Hooper put in the decision of the Court of Appeal in P and M [2004] EWCA Civ 1640 and also the US State Department Report. She relied on paragraphs 33 and 34 of P and M with regard to relocation, concentrating particularly on the point where it was stated that in the absence of evidence suggesting that there was an alternative location to which an appellant could go where they would not be at risk, Adjudicators could not be expected to investigate such issues for themselves on their own initiative when they had not been raised by the Secretary of State. She contended that this issue had not been raised by the Secretary of State but had been raised by the Tribunal. She appreciated that there had been some passage of time, but on the basis of the principle of litigation being conducted fairly and justly she contended that the right place for this issue to have been raised was before the Adjudicator.
  44. In the alternative, she referred us to Mr Trent's letter of 31 December 2004. That referred to the fact that returns could take place to Yaounde though special arrangements had to be put in place. If the Tribunal were to decide on that basis, then it would be necessary to make it clear that the Secretary of State would have to follow that, since removal directions were to Cameroon and this would usually be to Douala, so as things stood there was a risk that he would be returned to Douala.
  45. If the Tribunal found that the appellant was at risk in his home area and relocation was the only issue and agreed with the Adjudicator concerning the risks involved in travel, then he would be a refugee when he left Cameroon and would only not be a refugee because special arrangements could be made for him to be returned to a place to which he could not have got safely on his own. Flying into a place where he had no contacts and where he had never been before was clearly of relevance.
  46. In assessing risk in Yaounde it was necessary to start with the Adjudicator's findings, which could be found at paragraph 9 of his second determination. He had found that the appellant was likely to encounter physical danger from the security forces in travelling from his own area to another for the purposes of relocation and that if he succeeded it was likely he would not have a job and would not be able to support himself. He would be without the support of family or clan and would be in a very vulnerable position indeed. It was also the case that he was an unskilled worker.
  47. Clearly the Adjudicator was entitled to come to these findings. There was a risk that the conditions would be such that he would feel compelled to return to his place of origin. Pages 1-4 of the skeleton concerning risk in his home area were the starting point for assessing risk in Yaounde. Although the problems had commenced in his home area, the government was in Yaounde so at its highest from time to time leaders of the campaigning group would go to Yaounde to lobby the government and the evidence was clear that they would need to target the authorities at some stage. The US State Department Report referred generally to conditions in Cameroon and the situation should be assessed in the light of the fact that he would not have a job or support or tribe contacts. Page 5 of that report was concerned with arbitrary arrest and detention. The Tribunal was also referred to evidence at page 6 concerning the climate of impunity to an extent for policemen and gendarmes and the serious problems of arbitrary prolonged detention with people sometimes being held incommunicado for months or even years. Sweeps carried out by police authorised by administrative authorities continued to occur in Yaounde, and the appellant would be likely to be in the category of people who would be the victim of sweeps. There was also the relevance to relocation of Yaounde squatters, of whose number the appellant would likely be one given his circumstances. From page 17 it could be seen that ethnic groups commonly gave preferential treatment to fellow ethnic group members both in business and social practices so it was clearly important to have ties. The appellant's group, the Bassa, were a coastal tropical forest people who were mainly to be found in the south-west. They comprised some 12% of the total people living in that region. That whole combination of circumstances meant it would be unduly harsh to require him to be flown back to Yaounde and there was a real risk he would feel compelled to return to Douala where at least he would have an available support network.
  48. Mr Trent made the point at the outset that relocation was raised in the reasons for refusal letter at paragraph 8 and therefore the strictures set out in P and M did not apply. Thereafter he went on to deal with the question of undue harshness in Yaounde. This was the capital of Cameroon. He would be happy to undertake to use his best endeavours to ensure return to Yaounde and not to Douala. He drew our attention to the appellant's statements concerning his qualifications obtained while in Cameroon and since coming to the United Kingdom and his experience and skills. It seemed that he now spoke English well enough to teach it to other asylum seekers. He had experience of working with various groups. He had shown a degree of adaptability. He had come to the United Kingdom and learnt the language and fitted into the culture, and he could do so on return to Yaounde. There was nothing to indicate that no Bassa lived in Yaounde. The fact that they were from the south-west did not mean that none of them lived elsewhere in Cameroon.
  49. He referred us also to his letter of 31 December 2004. This indicated at paragraph 5.5 from the Country Information and Policy Unit fact-finding mission of January 2004 that there were in fact problems for the Bepanda 9 group rather than them causing problems. This indicated that there would be a sufficiency of protection for the appellant in any event. He would be an opponent of the government's opponents. Therefore there was no well-founded fear of persecution for a Convention reason. It was up to him if on return to Yaounde he chose to return to Douala. Return to Cameroon would not breach Article 3 and it would not be unduly harsh.
  50. By way of reply Miss Hooper was not sure that an undertaking from Mr Trent to use his best endeavours was sufficient to ensure that the appellant was not returned to Douala. It remained the case that there was a risk. As regards the skills and achievements of the appellant while in the United Kingdom, the culture and support available in the United Kingdom was very different from that in Cameroon. It had always been accept that the Bepanda 9 group suffered problems with the authorities. There was evidence of violent demonstrations on both sides. Members of the group had attacked the appellant's house. This did not give the full proper picture. There was not an appropriate level of protection to avoid the risk of future targeting.
  51. Determination and Conclusions

  52. The appellant's evidence before the Adjudicator was that he left Cameroon because he was being persecuted by members of the Bamileke tribe who were seeking revenge because their children had been killed. He had been living with his cousin ( )and her three children in Douala. On his return from work one day in January 2001 ( ) told him that her gas bottle had been stolen and she suspected some boys living in the same street. Her boyfriend had been told of the theft. He was an army captain in Operational Command which was suspected of torturing its victims and causing them to disappear.
  53. On the next day nine boys were arrested by Operational Command for the theft of the gas bottle. Two of them were sons of a friend of the appellant. All nine were held in custody and not released and in the third week of February it was believed that they had been murdered. Their bodies were never found.
  54. Demonstrations followed protesting the deaths and commencing in March 2001. The families of the victims swore to take revenge by killing ( )and her boyfriend and they also wanted to kill the appellant because he lived with( ). He did not dare go out, and according to his evidence thousands of people demonstrated outside the house. Eventually the house was completely destroyed. ( ) left with her children, presumably to live with her boyfriend. Although the police were fully aware of what was going on they did not help him. He fled from Cameroon and came to the United Kingdom via France, arriving on 31 March 2001.
  55. The Adjudicator accepted the appellant's evidence as to what had happened to him in Cameroon and the reasons why he feared a return. The Adjudicator found that he was not ill-treated because of his membership of a particular social group. The asylum appeal was therefore dismissed. As regards the human rights appeal, on the appellant's own account the Adjudicator considered that he had made no report of the demonstrations and threats to the police and had no evidence that the police were either unable or unwilling to protect him from those who would seek to ill-treat him and indeed to the contrary noted that the government last November (i.e. in November 2001), had announced their intention to investigate the unlawful killings in Douala by the Operational Guard. He therefore dismissed the human rights appeal.
  56. Permission to appeal having been granted on the basis that we have set out above, the matter as we have noted came before the Tribunal chaired by Collins J on 11 April 2002. Collins J made clear his view that there was no Refugee Convention reason and indeed it seems that it was not a matter that was pressed very strongly before him by Miss Hooper nor has it been pressed before us. We consider that there is no Refugee Convention reason in this case and the only issue before us therefore is that of Article 3. As we have noted above, the issue concerning which the matter was remitted back to Mr O'Malley to provide missing evidence on concerned the issue of relocation. The Tribunal did not reach a concluded view as to whether he faced a real risk of revenge by the families, and whether he would be able to obtain any police protection from this.
  57. Thereafter, as we have seen, in his second determination, Mr O'Malley took into account the appellant's evidence that it was impossible in Cameroon to move to another part of the country and in particular as a French speaker he could not go to the Anglophone area. He would be subject to economic exploitation and would be unable to get a job. He knew no-one outside Douala. The murder of the nine boys was known throughout the country and he would therefore be inhibited in seeking assistance from the authorities as he would have to admit his association with the murders, and in any event the police were corrupt and would not protect him.
  58. The Adjudicator concluded at paragraph 5 that the appellant would find it difficult to find a job and earn a living in a place where he had no support from his own ethnic group, particularly as a relatively unskilled worker. He would no doubt have to compete with a large number of people who unlike him would be native to the area. He noted that there were practical difficulties in moving around in Cameroon and agreed with the submission of Ms Hooper that it was difficult to see how with neither money nor influence he would be able to negotiate roadblocks manned by corrupt security forces. He concluded as we have seen that it would be unduly harsh to require the appellant to move to another part of the Cameroon.
  59. We return to our above finding at paragraps 18-20 that the Adjudicator, though he was clearly entitled to make findings on the credibility of the appellant's evidence concerning issues of relocation was not empowered or entitled to come to conclusions on relocation but that that was a matter of the Tribunal as it is now presently constituted.
  60. We consider first the question of whether the appellant is at risk in his home area. Ms Hooper has helpfully drawn our attention to a good deal of objective evidence in this regard concerning the ongoing activities of the families of the nine children and problems of police ineffectiveness and corruption. We did not understand Mr Trent to pursue very vigorously the issue of risk in the home area. He did say towards the end of his submissions with regard to the matters contained in his letter of 31 December 2004 that there was an indication that there would be sufficiency of protection for the appellant given the problems that the supporters of the nine continue to have with the government. In this context we bear in mind Ms Hooper's point that there had been problems for the families of the nine from the authorities all along, and we consider that on the evidence the support offered by the authorities in Douala to the appellant has been at a very low level and of course it is the case that his home was burnt down although they were well aware of the problems that he was experiencing. We accept therefore that he faces a real risk of breach of his Article 3 rights in his home area.
  61. There remains then the question of relocation. There are three issues in particular here. The first is whether this issue is before us at all. In P and M [2004] EWCA Civ 1640 at paragraph 33 the Court of Appeal did not accept that the Adjudicator in P was bound to determine the issue of relocation when it was not before her, and if such an issue had not been raised by the Secretary of State, Adjudicators could not be expected to investigate such issues for themselves. In this case it is clear however from paragraph 8 of the reasons for refusal letter that the issue of relocation was raised by the Secretary of State, and we conclude therefore that the Adjudicator was required (as he subsequently did) to consider the issue. The second is whether as a matter of practicality he can be returned to Yaounde or could return under his own steam as it were, and thirdly whether the conditions there would be of such a degree of harshness as in effect to make it likely that he would return to Douala and effectively be forced back to the place where we have found he is at risk.
  62. We note and bear in mind of course the points made in evidence before Mr O'Malley in the course of the second hearing before him and which are recorded in his determination concerning the problems the appellant would find in gaining work and the lack of support he would have from his own ethnic group in that area. We consider that he was entitled to conclude as he did that the difficulties that the appellant would experience en route to Yaounde from Douala would make it practically impossible for him to get there but in any event we have found that he would be at risk on return to Douala.
  63. In this context we consider that it is important to bear in mind the appellant's evidence as regards his skills and qualifications. At paragraph 5 of his statement of 30 October 2001 he said that he was well educated, having completed secondary school and also having completed a three-year course at college in mechanical studies. Since leaving college he had had various jobs and before leaving Cameroon he worked as a chauffeur and earned a reasonable income. He states at paragraph 13 of his addendum statement dated 6 August 2002 that he is French-speaking and thought that if he lived in an Anglophone area he would be separated from others as he would be identified as French-speaking. He goes on in that statement to refer to the fact that he attends Lackworth Tertiary College in Derby and that he has studied various courses in English and IT and has currently begun a course in training to become a teacher. On qualification he will be teaching other French-speaking asylum seekers how to speak English. He is actively involved in the Derby Asylum Seekers' Association and has been appointed treasurer of the association with the responsibility of putting together a programme of activity to meet the needs of the asylum seekers in Derby. This will involve working with various agencies and asylum seekers to arrange counselling and leisure services, sorting out problems with NASS and arranging for legal advice.
  64. It is clear to us on this evidence that the appellant is an intelligent and resourceful young man. We do not consider that the gloomy picture painted by the Adjudicator is one that can be said to apply to him if returned to Yaounde. For a start it is clear that his level of English is good to the extent as can be seen from his statement that he was in a position in 2002 to be able to teach English to French-speaking asylum seekers. He has clearly a range of skills and experience which would certainly stand him in good stead in Yaounde. In addition there is no evidence, as Mr Trent suggested, to indicate that, though the Bassa's home is in the south-west that members of the Bassa are not to be found in Yaounde which is after all the capital of Cameroon. We bear in mind the point made by Ms Hooper concerning differences in support and facilities between the United Kingdom and Cameroon, but consider nevertheless that the skills and experience and qualifications that the appellant has are of clear relevance to assessing his ability to cope in Yaounde. We do not see him as a person who would end up as a squatter or otherwise ending on the fringes of society given the circumstances to which we have referred above. Any risk from those whom he fears in Yaounde is in our view purely speculative, likewise any risk that his involvement in the matter that caused him to flee would be or become known also speculative. Though the lack of family or clan is not without relevance, we do not consider that they are matters of a degree of materiality as taken with the other issues relevant to the question of relocation to make it unduly harsh to expect him to relocate to Yaounde. We therefore conclude that, taking into account the evidence accepted by the Adjudicator in his second determination that to return the appellant to Yaounde would not be unduly harsh.
  65. There remains the question of whether he can get to Yaounde. Here we are grateful to Mr Trent for his researches as evidenced in his letter of 31 December 2004. It is clear from that letter that the majority of returns to Cameroon are affected via Douala because there are a greater number of route options available. It is said however that if there is a specific request for a routing to Yaounde this can be booked via Brussels, Nairobi or Paris. It is clear that flights to Yaounde do not stop in Douala. We also have Mr Trent's undertaking to use his best endeavours to ensure that the appellant would be returned to Yaounde and not to Douala. This, as Ms Hooper pointed out, is not a guarantee. However we consider that, given that it is clear that a specific request for routing to Yaounde can be made, and given the feasibility of this and the reliance that we are sure we can place on Mr Trent's undertaking in this regard, we can be confident that the Secretary of State in returning the appellant to Cameroon would ensure that he was placed on a flight that went to Yaounde and did not stop in Douala. We do not consider that the situation the appellant would face in Yaounde is such as to give rise to a real risk of his Article 3 rights. Insofar as that is a question of internal relocation, we consider that it would not be unduly harsh for him to return and be expected to live in Yaounde.
  66. This appeal is therefore dismissed.
  67. D K ALLEN

    VICE PRESIDENT


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