Case Comment: R (Bashir & Ors) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] UKSC 45 Part One – UKSC Blog

‘In a complex interim judgment dealing with threshold issues, the Supreme Court has asad-khanheld that both the Refugee Convention 1951 and the 1967 Protocol extend to the UK’s Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs) of Akrotiri and Dhekelia. Britain occupied Cyprus between 1878 and 1960. Secretive deal making with the Ottoman Empire led the British Empire to forge an alliance with the Turks to protect them from Russia. The British initially occupied and administered Cyprus and ultimately annexed it upon the outbreak of the First World War when the British and the Turks found themselves fighting on opposite sides. Turkey recognised the annexation in the Treaty of Lausanne 1923 and that status continued until the settlement between the UK, Greece and Turkey in 1960 when Cyprus became a republic. Like Britain’s other Mediterranean possessions the island was of military and strategic importance rather than economic value. Upon independence in 1960, the UK retained sovereignty over the SBAs to accommodate military bases which are now the only notable British strategic assets in the eastern Mediterranean. These proceedings threw up a number of issues including the respondents’ entitlement to resettlement in the UK under the Convention, the validity of the UK-Cyprus Memorandum of Understanding of 2003 on illegal migrants and asylum seekers, and whether the UK is in principle entitled to discharge its obligations under the Convention by arranging for support to be provided by Cyprus?’

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UKSC Blog, 24th August 2018