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McGill & Co is a Scottish immigration law firm specialising in UK immigration, nationality and refugee law.

Recent reported decision on return to the Palestinian Territories

04 September 2015 Immigration

The Upper Tribunal has recently reported a case of ours as HA (Article 24 QD) Palestinian Territories [2015] UKUT 00465 (IAC). This is a technically complex case- though that might not be apparent from the length of the determination. The nub of the case is that the appellant, who was habitually resident in Syria, can be returned to Palestine as he is a 'national' of that territory. Obviously neither location is an easy prospect, Syria is experiencing one of the most bloody conflicts in recent memory and Gaza is still recovering from a devastating Israeli siege. Added to that the appellant has never actually lived in Gaza (or the West Bank) he is, as is common to people with origins in Palestine, stateless. Whilst he lived in Damascus before coming to the UK he is not a Syrian citizen. Neither is he a Palestinian 'citizen', as Palestine is not recognised in international law as a state (though that may change and many countries do consider Palestine to be a state).

Palestine, despite the severe conditions there (particularly the ravaged Gaza), probably does not meet the threshold test for humanitarian protection. Namely that the level of general violence is so high that simply being there puts one at risk of harm. Syria on the other hand has more than exceeded that high threshold. Unfortunately for this appellant, the Upper Tribunal has decided that he can be sent to the Palestinian territories and this would not breach our domestic or international law.

This short summary belies the legal and factual detail of the case, and it may be that this decision is not the last word.

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