Supreme Court

RT (Zimbabwe) & Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] UKSC 38

Can you require an asylum seeker to lie and feign loyalty to a regime in order to avoid the persecutory ill-treatment to which he would otherwise be subjected? The question was answered in this judgement-where four asylum seekers (RT, SM, KM and AM) from Zimbabwe are involved-which is a sequel to the decision of UKSC in HJ (Iran) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] 1 AC 596 in which it was held that a gay man was entitled to live freely and openly in accordance with his sexual identity under the Refugee Convention and it was no answer to the claim for asylum that he would conceal his sexual identity in order to avoid the persecution that would follow if he did not do so.
The Court of Appeal decided for the appellants and the Secretary of State sought an order that the decisions of the Tribunal should be restored in all three cases, alternatively that the claims should be remitted for further consideration of the sole issue of whether each claimant would be able to prove loyalty to the regime.
The court dealt with two principles that it considered arising from this case; first whether the HJ (Iran) apply to the situation in this case where there is no political belief; secondly would the appellants be persecuted for imputed political belief. Lord Dyson delivered the leading judgment dismissing the appeals of the Secretary of State in the cases of RT, SM and AM and allowing the appeal of KM.

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