The decision

Heard at Field House

On: 12 July 2004

B (Risk on return – Country conditions) Sri Lankan [2004] UKIAT 00338

Date Determination notified:

1 October 2004


Mrs J A J C Gleeson (Vice President)
Mr P Bompas


Secretary of State for the Home Department




For the appellant: Miss R. Brown, Home Office Presenting Officer
For the respondent : Miss P. Gandhi of Counsel,
instructed by Chelvathamby & Sons


1. The Secretary of State appeals with leave against the determination of an Adjudicator allowing the appellant’s appeal against his refusal to recognise him as a refugee. The Tribunal confirmed with Miss Gandhi the core facts which the Adjudicator is to be regarded as having found. The appellant was by occupation a tailor, who made clothes for the Tigers and repaired them from time to time. He was forced to undergo combat training, but his combat experience consisted mostly of carrying a few shells and he never actually fought for the Tigers. He was, however, injured at the front and whilst he was recovering was allowed to rest and train other tailors for the Tigers.

2. Shortly after that he travelled to the Vanni which was then in Sri Lankan government hands. He appears to have been safe there until the Sri Lankan government captured Jaffna and the LTTE moved to the Vanni at which time he was arrested by the LTTE.

3. When released he headed for Vavuniya where he was arrested by PLOTE. At this point in the story there is considerable confusion. The appellant was either released by PLOTE in March 1999 or in May 2000 and he either arrived in the UK in January 2000 or in October 2000. During the period between his release and his departure the appellant lived with his sister in Anuradhapura, which is in the middle of Sri Lanka, apparently right on the cusp of the combat zone.

4. Be that as it may, he seems to have had no difficulties there and after a period managed to save up enough money for his passage to the UK. Shortly after his departure, his parents in Trincomalee were questioned about his whereabouts. (His wife is still in Mulamkalvil.) The appellant is in contact by letter with his parents and presumably also with his wife and sister although there is no evidence to that effect.

5. He was released by PLOTE on payment of a bribe and apart from the visit to his parents just after the release there is no evidence of any continuing interest. The Prevention of Terrorism Act and Emergency Regulations, which are the only provisions under which an innocent tailor could be arrested and held as this appellant was, have both lapsed and the peace process in Sri Lanka has altered the situation there beyond recognition.

6. The Tribunal has been taken to 2003 UKIAT 00150 N (Sri Lanka), Oppilamani [2004] EWHC 348, 2003 UKIAT 00003 S (Sri Lanka), 2004 UKIAT 00033 B (Sri Lanka), all of which confirm the change in circumstances. There is nothing exceptional in this appellant’s situation to suggest that he would still be at risk on return and no specific information after the month or so after his departure to indicate that such risk as there may then have been continues today.

7. It follows that the Adjudicator's determination cannot, on the present facts, be sustained and that the Secretary of State is entitled to succeed. This appeal is accordingly allowed.


12 July 2004