[lg policy] Irish High Court Ruling on Roma asylum status and education in Serbia

Jeffrey Kallen JKALLEN at TCD.IE
Mon Jan 30 14:01:19 UTC 2012

Dear Colleagues,

An article in today's Irish Times has reported on an Irish High Court judgment which rules that a Roma child who faces deportation to Serbia (where his parents are from) would face such a high level of discrimination as to constitute persecution, and that, therefore, a tribunal decision not to grant asylum should be quashed. The full judgment is available at this link, and may be of interest:


Though the judgment is too long to post here, I found the following concluding arguments particularly interesting:

Information sourced by the Tribunal member
26. Even though I am quashing her decision, it is appropriate to record my sincere gratitude to the Tribunal member for the exceptional care which she took with this difficult case. The Tribunal member went to the trouble of sourcing her own country of origin information regarding the treatment of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians in Kosovo. It is clear from this information that the EU has endeavoured to assist these communities by assisting them with registration and the provision of additional teacher training. Nevertheless, as the applicant's solicitors noted in their reply, this material relates to Kosovo and not Serbia. While I appreciate that the Preshevo municipality is right on the borders of Kosovo and the Republic of Macedonia, it is nonetheless in Serbia. In these circumstances, I cannot see how this additional material is of direct relevance to the applicant's case.

27. In conclusion, therefore, I have concluded that, having regard to the country of origin information, the Tribunal member erred in law in her construction of what constitutes persecution. In other words, since she found - and, in view of the relevant country of origin information, could only have found - that there was a real risk that the applicant would not get a basic education if he were returned to Serbia, she was bound to find that this amounted to persecution within the meaning of s. 2 of the 1996 Act.

28. In these circumstances, I will accordingly quash the decision of the Tribunal of 19th August, 2009.

Jeffrey Kallen
Associate Professor of Linguistics and Phonetics
Centre for Language and Communication Studies
Trinity College Dublin
Dublin 2

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