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Ireland grants man refugee status but rejects his wife and daughter

The case will have to be revisited by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal following a court order.

Image: Shutterstock/M.V. Photography

A 36-YEAR-OLD Pakistani mother and her 10-year-old daughter have been told by a High Court judge that their failed bid for refugee status will have to be re-considered by a different member of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Mr Justice Robert Eagar quashed a decision of the tribunal refusing mother and daughter to remain here as refugees despite the fact that her husband and the child’s father has been given asylum in Ireland.

Judge Eagar said in a reserved judgment that the Tribunal had failed to have any reasonable regard to the grant of leave to remain to the woman’s husband.

He said the mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, comes from a high profile Ahmadi Muslim family and had alleged she had suffered persecution since childhood on account of her faith.

The woman’s husband had been active in the Ahmadi community and had left Pakistan for Ireland in 2005 after receiving threatening phone calls and people having thrown stones at their house.

The woman, a High School Art teacher, claimed she later also had to flee with her daughter after they suffered threats and people would shun, swear at and harass them.  On one occasion someone had grabbed her scarf from behind.

She alleged she also suffered discrimination during her work, as some parents had threatened to withdraw their children and the principal of the school had pressured her to leave her employment.  She and her daughter arrived in Ireland in 2011 where they applied for asylum.

The Ahmadis, who are constitutionally declared to be non-Muslims in Pakistan, is a movement emerged from the Sunni tradition of Islam and founded in 1889.

The woman claimed that she could face a death sentence if convicted of any of the offences under the Blasphemy laws in Pakistan.

Judge Eagar said the Tribunal, when refusing the woman’s application, had considered that “she had not suffered discrimination to a serious degree as an exceptional Ahmadi”.

The Judge said the Tribunal made a “tense and hostile” description of the woman’s claim. He said it had criticised the woman for not attending the mosque in Ireland although she had claimed she was a devoted Ahmadi.

Judge Eagar said the criticism was unreasonable as the woman’s interview by the Tribunal had taken place only a month after she had arrived with her daughter, and the first thing she would have had to deal with was adapting to a new culture.

“The failure of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal to properly and fully consider the country of origin information which deals with the enforcement of the law of blasphemy in Pakistan is irrational on the facts of this case,” the Judge said.

He made an order for her appeal to be re-heard by another member of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Read: There’s a Syrian refugee family living in the Vatican

More: Body of another drowned toddler washes up on beach in Turkey: report

About the author:

Ray Managh and Saurya Cherfi

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