Five members of Albanian family lose appeal over deportation

Group sought asylum on grounds of persecution from being members of Gabel ethnic group

The appeals were by a husband and wife, who came here in 2005, and their son, his wife and their child, who came here in 2008. Photograph: Collins Courts.

The appeals were by a husband and wife, who came here in 2005, and their son, his wife and their child, who came here in 2008. Photograph: Collins Courts.

 

Five members of an Albanian family have lost their appeals over being refused subsidiary protection here, resulting in their deportation.

A three judge Court of Appeal ruled on Wednesday the five had advanced no “stateable” grounds to overturn the High Court’s rejection of their judicial review proceedings challenging refusal of subsidiary protection by the Minister for Justice.

The appeals were by a husband and wife, who came here in 2005, and their son, his wife and their child, who came here in 2008. They sought asylum on dates in 2005 and 2008 on grounds of a fear of persecution in Albania arising from being members of the Gabel ethnic group there.

Among various claims, the husband claimed his brother had married a non-Roma woman in August 2004 and was killed the same month by her family who disapproved of the marriage. He claimed a member of the Gabel ethnic group could not go to the police as they would be mistreated and that families extract revenge through blood feuds.

After being refused asylum, the applicants later sought subsidiary protection based on similar grounds. Those were refused and all five were subsequently deported to Albania in 2013.

Giving the COA judgment, Ms Justice Máire Whelan noted a deportation order means the affected individual cannot re-enter the State. The appeal was therefore not moot or pointless and the applicants had a right of access to the courts, she said.

She also noted there have been changes in the applicable law since the orders. She said the substance of each decision refusing subsidiary protection was based primarily on country of origin information from “credible” sources including the US State Department.

The Minister had noted a 2010 US State Department report stated, while the Romani people suffered significant societal abuse and discrimination in Albania, the Albanian government has taken positive steps in relation to the protection of minorities.

He had decided the applicants were not at risk of serious harm if returned to Albania.

Ms Justice Whelan said the High Court also correctly concluded that findings by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal of lack of credibility were an additional distinct material ground in each case which supported the Minister’s refusal.

Each refusal decision incorporated extensive evidence outlining the rationale for the decisions and she was satisfied the High Court correctly concluded the appellants had failed to establish the refusals were either irrational or unreasonable.

The High Court rightly focussed on the fact none of the applicants had sought to contest the inferences drawn and conclusions reached by the tribunal in the cases, she said.

She was satisfied there was “clear evidence” before the Minister in the form of country of origin information which enabled him to make the decisions, draw the inferences and reach the conclusions which he did.

No stateable ground was identified to contend the High Court’s refusal of judicial review was irrational or otherwise unreasonable, she held.