Citation: 2020 RLLR 10
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: September 29, 2020
Panel: Ana Rico
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Md Wazir Hossain
RPD Number: TB8-19236
Associated RPD Number(s): TB8-19239, TB8-19247, TB8-19248, TB8-19249
ATIP Number: A-2021-00540
ATIP Pages: 000066-000071
REASONS FOR DECISION
 These are the reasons for decision of the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) in the claim for protection filed by [XXX], [XXX], [XXX], [XXX], and [XXX] under sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
 The Board appointed Mr. [XXX] as the designated representatives of the minor claimants.
 The allegations are fully set out in the Basis of Claim forms (which can be found at exhibit 2.1-2.5). In short, the claimants allege that they face a risk to their life at the hands of Awami League and Communists cadres because they seek to extort them for [XXX]. If returned to Bangladesh, the claimants fear that they will be subjected to further assaults, kidnappings, and ultimately lose their lives.
 The panel determines that the claimants are persons in need of protection as they face a risk to their lives in Bangladesh because of extortion threats from criminal elements.
 The claimants’ identities as nationals of Bangladesh are established, on a balance of probabilities, through the certified true copies of their passportsi, and other government issued documentsii that were submitted to the Board.
Nexus- Section 97(1) Claim
 The panel finds, for the reasons outlined below, that the fear alleged by the claimants fall under section 97(1) of the IRPA and has assessed it as such. Though the claimants are targeted by a politically motivated organization, the reasons for them being targeted is not tied to a Convention ground. The claimants indicate in their evidence that they are targeted because of their wealth, and social standing. While the claimant believes that the targeting may also be tied to a future political bid, the claimant indicated that he had no aspirations for politics. Moreover, in none of the incidents of persecution do the persecutors allude to any political reasons for targeting the claimants. It is clear in the agent of persecutions’ threats and actions that the reasons for targeting the claimants is tied to their wealth. A person’s socioeconomic status is not an innate or immutable characteristic as contemplated by the ground of membership in a particular social group. Given that the claimants are targeted because of their wealth, the panel finds that they have failed to establish a nexus to a Convention ground.
 Testimony given under oath is presumed to be true unless there are reasons to doubt its veracity. The claimants have given the panel no valid reasons to doubt the veracity of their evidence. There were no significant, unexplained inconsistencies, implausibilities or omissions from the principal claimant’s testimony. The principal claimant appeared to testify in a spontaneous and forthright manner.
 The principal claimant provided realistic detail about the incidents of persecution that remained largely consistent with his Basis of Claim and other evidence contained in the record. The claimant provided significant detailed testimony concerning the first extortion event, the kidnapping of his sons, as well as, the agent of persecutions ability to locate them after relocating within Bangladesh.
 While the principal claimant’s police report regarding the kidnapping of his son omitted the actual kidnapping, the panel finds the explanation given to be reasonable. It is entirely reasonable that the principal claimant would omit the kidnapping to shield the children from any greater violence, as he was threatened with death if he reported the kidnapping to the police. Given the threats made, and the police’s past inability to protect, that the principal claimant would not provide these details to the police.
 Overall, the principal claimants’ evidence remained internally consistent and consistent with the other evidence in the record. Moreover, the allegations are well supported with a plethora of evidence whose authenticity the panel has no reasons to doubt. The corroborative evidenceiii, including police reports, witness statements, proof of sale of properties/assets to pay ransoms, proof of hiding in Bangladesh, is persuasive evidence that the allegations are, on a balance, true.
 For the reasons state above, the panel finds that the claimants claim is credible, and that they have established that the allegations are true on a balance of probabilities.
Personalized Risk to Life
 The panel must consider whether the claimants face a personalized risk to their life that is not faced generally by others in Bangladesh. The panel finds, for the reasons outlined below, that the claimants face a personalized risk to their life in Bangladesh. While kidnappings and extortion of wealthy persons is commonly faced by citizens in Bangladesh, the specific and repeatedly increased violent targeting of the claimants escalated the risk from that faced by others generally in the country to that of a personalized targeting of the family. It is evident from the claimants’ evidence that the targeting escalated from extortion threats, to threats of violence, to kidnappings. The steady increase of violence meted against the claimants, as well as the agent of persecutions pursuing the claimants to other parts of Bangladesh, clearly demonstrates that the targeting, and ultimately risk to the claimants’ lives, was very personal in nature. As such, the claimants face a personalized risk to their lives that this not face generally by others in Bangladesh.
 There is a presumption that States can protect its own citizens; however, it is open for a claimant to rebut this presumption with clear and convincing evidence of an unwillingness or inability of the State to protect them.
 In the present case, the claimant sought state protection on four occasions. The claimants’ actions of seeking state protection is corroborated by the General Diaries contained in the record.iv While the police did record the claimant’s recounting of the incidents, the police did not investigate further, nor did they offer the claimants any protection, despite promising to take steps to follow up. Despite the claimants’ repeated attempts to follow up regarding the open investigation, the police failed to respond or provide any concrete information as to the state of the open investigations. The claimants above described personal experiences demonstrate that the police failed to provide adequate state protection to the claimants.
 The objective documentary evidence also demonstrates that, in this case, state protection at an operational level remains inadequate. The National Document Package for Bangladesh contains many reports of extortion, kidnappings, and threats made by Awami League cadres, and their counterparts. The NDP for Bangladesh also highlights that the crimes go largely unpunished, and under-reported. There are reports of impunity for crimes committed by Awami League cadres, and their supporters. There are also instances in which the police collaborate with Awami League cadres to perpetuate these very same crimes against citizens in Bangladesh.v
 Given the claimants’ own experiences with the police, and the level of impunity documented in the objective evidence, the panel finds that there is no adequate state protection for the claimants in Bangladesh at this time.
Internal Flight Alternative
 As the agent of persecution is active throughout Bangladesh and has located the claimants even after relocating within Bangladesh, the panel finds that there is no viable internal flight alternative for the claimants.
 Based on the totality of the evidence, the panel concludes that the claimants are persons in need of protection. The panel accepts their claims.
(signed) Ana Rico
September 29, 2020
i Exhibit 1.
ii Exhibit 6; items 1.1-1.4.
iii Exhibits 6 and 7.
iv Exhibit 6, items 8.1-8.2, and items 9.1-9.2.
v Exhibit 3, National Document Package for Bangladesh, March 32, 2020, tab 2.1, tab 2.3, 2.7, and 2.9.