Citation: 2020 RLLR 31
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: November 24, 2020
Panel: Paulina Gueller
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Jeffrey L Goldman
RPD Number: TB9-04003
ATIP Number: A-2021-00655
ATIP Pages: 000001-000007
REASONS FOR DECISION
 These are the reasons for the decision in the claim of [XXX], who claims to be a citizen of Albania, and is claiming refugee protection pursuant to sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
 In rendering my reasons, I have considered the Chairperson’s Guideline 9: Proceedings Before the IRB Involving Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression.
 The claimant alleges that he fears persecution by the police and his family because of his sexual orientation as a gay man.
 The claimant’s allegations are set out in his Basis of claim form (BOC).1 In summary the claimant alleges that he realized that he was attracted to men at the age of 14. He had a relationship with his cousin. In [XXX] 2011 his maternal uncle found them and beat them. Both had to be hospitalized. While in the hospital police officer went to questioned them, but when he learnt that they were gays he spit on them and refused to take the report. After his uncle beat him, his father told him to leave the family home.
 In [XXX] 2011 the claimant went to [XXX]. He applied for asylum, but it was denied. He was deported in [XXX] 2017. While in Albania, in [XXX] 2017 and [XXX] 2018, he was attacked by his cousins. The police hit him with a rubber baton in [XXX] 2017 when he told them the reason of his hospitalization.
 The claimant tried to flee to Germany, but he was deported back to Albania. The claimant’s cousins kept looking for him, so with the help of a smuggler he got an [XXX] passport and came to Canada. He applied for asylum at the airport.
 I find that the claimant is a Convention refugee, pursuant to section 96 of the IRPA, as there a serious possibility of persecution, should he return to Albania, on account of his membership to a particular social group as a gay man.
 I find that the claimant’ s identity as a national of Albania is established by his testimony and the documents provided, namely his Albanian passport.2
 I find the claimant to be a credible witness and therefore believe what he alleged in support of his claim. He testified in a straightforward manner, and there were no relevant inconsistencies in his testimony or contradictions between his testimony and the other evidence before me which have not been satisfactorily explained.
 For example: I note that the claimant sought asylum in [XXX], but he alleges it was denied and he was deported back to Albania in 2017. The claimant was asked to produce the documents from his asylum claim in [XXX], but he stated that he was not able to obtain them. I find, on a balance of probabilities, that the claimant was deported in 2017 back to Albania. Therefore, on a balance of probabilities, I find that his claim was denied, otherwise he would have not been deported. Therefore, I find his explanation seems reasonable in his alleged circumstances, and therefore does not raise significant concerns with respect to subjective fear or credibility.
 I also note that after the claimant was deported to Albania, he tried to leave the country again, but he was deported from Germany. I find on a balance of probabilities, that the claimant tried to flee Albania, because he feared persecution by his family. I find it reasonable in the claimant’ s personal circumstances and I accept his explanations.
 In particular, the following evidence establishes the allegations set above: the claimant provided a letter from [XXX], a friend in Albania who helped him providing shelter when he was deported from [XXX]; a letter from his cousin in Toronto and a friend he met in the community of 519, both are testifying of the sexual orientation of the claimant as a gay person. Documents from 519 and photos from the Christmas party.
 After reviewing the documents, I have no reason to doubt their authenticity.
 For someone who had grown up in a society where being on the LGBT spectrum is treated with contempt, ridicule and by many as an abomination, I find the claimant’s testimony to be credible. He testified without any obvious embellishment and in a fluid, immediate way.
 Therefore, I find, on a balance of probabilities, the claimant has a well-founded subjective fear of persecution in Albania and he established his core allegations of being a gay man.
 I find that what the claimant fears constitutes persecution and that the persecution is linked to the Convention ground of his membership in a particular social group, as a gay man.
 The independent research3 shows there are serious human rights issues for LGBTI persons in Albania. The law in Albania prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, including employment. However, the enforcement is considered generally weak. In addition, sexual orientation and gender identity are classes protected by the country’s hate law. Despite these formal laws, public officials made homophobic statements, and there have been numerous cases of physical and psychological violence made against LGBTI persons including minors. While the Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination (CPD) investigated four cases of alleged discrimination, and opened an additional investigation based on gender identity and sexual orientation, it is a very small effort in the face of the 421 cases reported. The report also states that the Ministry of Health and Social Protection initiated a fund to open a shelter for LGBTI people, which assisted only 16 persons since March. While the effort is acknowledged, it appears to be a very small step forward.
 In it’s annual report the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), dedicated to LGBTI rights,4 reported on a growing number of LGBTI person, who have asked non-governmental organization’s (NGO) for help in obtaining information about seeking asylum in EU countries, the US and Canada, caused by bias-motivated speech, violence, due to hate crimes towards LGBTI persons, who have been physically assaulted, bullying in schools, vulnerability with respect to obtaining housing, employment, backlash in cultural life, discrimination in healthcare, and the absence of support to amend the Family Code, to allow gay marriage. There was improvement in freedom of assembly as the Pride Parade went smoothly, and the Festival of Diversity for Human Rights of LGBTI was supported by the Tirana Municipality, the Council of Europe, and the EU. The report shows that LGBTI persons advanced their agenda, politically, nevertheless this segment of society is “invisible and unprotected”.5
 Referencing the social perceptions of Albanians, the Home Office reports6 that public visibility of LGBTI persons remains very low, even though individuals and activists have spoken up about their sexual orientation. It says that although the adoption of non-discrimination laws in 2010 have helped drastically, the topic is very present in the public debate. However, despite efforts to include LGBTI persons, homophobic sentiment remains high, and the “culture of heteronormativity and patriarchy is still pervasive”.7
 The evidence also in the NDP does report societal violence against LGBT individuals, once again, starting with their families but also within society. While public communal violence against LGBT individuals is not as high in places like Tirana, given that there’s perhaps a greater understanding of rights in some ways in that city, the documentary evidence is clear that discrimination continues even in Tirana in things like, employment and housing and education.8
 The NDP9 also established that individuals are not open about their sexual orientation or gender identity in the workplace out of fear of being fired or facing discrimination and that it also notes that discrimination in employment occurs and that individuals continue to have to hide their sexual orientation in the workplace and that there’ s also a noted rise, of LGBT youth having problem accessing housing given issues with discrimination10, as well as, not being able to live with their family. I find therefore that deep seated homophobia exists in Albania, which means that the claimant would not be able to find a viable internal flight alternative in Tirana, which is an area I questioned the claimant about.
 Based on the country conditions evidence, your claim is objectively well founded.
 Given that there are no serious credibility issues with respect to the claimant’s allegations, coupled with the documentary evidence set out above, I find that there is more than a mere possibility that the claimant would face persecution in society in general, on account of his sexual orientation.
 I find that there is clear and convincing evidence before me that the state is unable or unwilling to provide you with adequate protection.
 I find that it would be objectively unreasonable for the claimant to seek the protection of the state in light of his particular circumstances, as he has shown how he was unable to obtain police protection, because the police itself was de one ridiculing and beaten him. The independent research reports that “corruption is endemic in Albania” the report examines the causes, and attempts of the current government to address the situation, however “the public perception on the spread of corruption among top police officials has increased”, due examples given such as bribery, manipulation of evidence, etc.11
 I also find that the claimant would not have adequate state protection in Albania given that some of the documentary evidence does speak about police officers continuing to be a source of the persecution and that they are themselves seen as agents of persecution by LGBT individuals in that, they ridicule. They don’t help and they sometimes themselves are perpetrators of violence.
 Therefore, I find that this objective evidence not only establishes that there would not be adequate state protection for the claimant, but it’ s in line and consistent with his own experiences of what he has described of having been insulted and offered no assistance by the police officer who came to the hospital to interview him.
 In light of the preceding, I conclude that the claimant is a Convention refugee, pursuant to section 96 of the IRPA. Accordingly, I accept this claim.
(signed) Paulina Gueller
November 24, 2020
1 Exhibit 2
2 Exhibit 1
3 Exhibit 3 NDP for Albania (March 31, 2020).
4 Exhibit 3 NDP item 6.1
6 Exhibit 3 NDP item 6.5
8 Exhibit 3 item 1.8
9 Exhibit 3 item, 6.7
10 Exhibit 3, item 6.6
11 Exhibit 3 item 10.3