Citation: 2020 RLLR 118
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: July 23, 2020
Panel: Miryam Molgat
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Tammi Hua
Country: Burkina Faso
RPD Number: VB9-06140
Associated RPD Number(s):
ATIP Number: A-2021-00945
ATIP Pages: 000228-000232
 MEMBER: This is the decision in the claim of [XXX] file number VB9-06140.
 I have considered your testimony and the other evidence in the case and I’m ready to render my decision orally. In the event that written reasons are issued, a written form of these reasons may be edited for spelling, syntax and grammar and references to the applicable case law and documentary evidence may also be included.
 The claimant claims to be a citizen of Burkina Faso and is claiming refugee protection pursuant to Sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
 The Panel finds that the claimant is a Convention refugee, as the claimant does have a well-founded fear of persecution on a Convention ground in Burkina Faso.
 Its reasons are as follows.
 The claimant’s complete allegations are set out in the Basis of Claim form and need not be repeated here in detail.
 To summarize briefly, the claimant is a member of the Burkinabe ethnic group, he is Muslim. He was violently threatened on [XXX] 2019, as he was headed to the Mosque for early morning prayers. Four armed persons on motorcycles stopped him and asked him where he was headed. These armed persons were jihadists and terrorists. The men asked the claimant if he was the one going to teach children at the Nusoubou (ph) school. He could not see their faces but he recognized their clothes and voices from the Mosque. The men took him on their motorcycle. He promised not to return to the school in question. They warned him against any non-Quranic teachings and that he not talk about them. They released him. After that, he started trying to leave Burkina Faso. He says that he’s able to recognize them and that they know him and his family. He adds that jihadists can be found throughout Burkina Faso and have accomplices everywhere. He left Burkina Faso on [XXX] 2019. He paid a large amount of money in order to leave the country. His trip was facilitated by three persons. His parents, siblings and two of his children remain in Burkina Faso. His spouse is a citizen of the Ivory Coast, where she resides with their other child. The claimant also alleges fear of risk to his life, risk of torture or risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment at the hands of the same agent of harm. The claimant alleges that neither state protection or safe and reasonable internal flight alternatives are available in his country of nationality.
 The main issue is identity. The issue arises as the claimant was undocumented upon arrival in Canada.
 The claimant’s national identity has been established by the testimony and supporting documentation filed and entered in these proceedings. The current and previous two Burkina Faso passports are on file, along with other documents provided by the claimant.
 The Panel is satisfied of the claimant’s identity as a citizen of Burkina Faso. The claimant worked repeatedly over many years in Lebanon. He has provided a translation of his Lebanese visa, which does not give rise to concerns over an eventual permanent status in Lebanon. This leaves the question of any citizenship or other such status in Ivory Coast, stemming from the claimant’s current marriage to an Ivorian citizen, as described in his Basis of Claim form and testimony. Ivorian citizenship law stipulates that subject to certain articles of the law, a foreign man marrying an Ivorian woman becomes Ivorian at the time of the marriage and this is in Item 3.1 of the National Documentation Package on Ivory Coast. The law indicates that in cases own citizenship la-, law allows him to maintain that citizenship, the groom in this situation can refuse to become Ivorian. He must do so before the marriage. The claimant testified that he does not have a status in Ivory Coast and never did. The claimant testified that he married his wife in a non-recognized religious ceremony, which took place in Lebanon.
 The Panel is satisfied that the claimant is not a citizen of Ivory Coast and that he does not have an automatic right to Ivorian citizenship.
 The Panel finds that he is a citizen of Burkina Faso only.
 For the claimant to be a Convention refugee, the fear of persecution must be by reason of one of the five grounds enumerated in the Convention refugee definition. In other words, the claimant must have a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.
 The Panel finds that the harm feared by the claimant is by reason of one of the five grounds enumerated in the Convention refugee definition, namely imputed political opinion against jihadists. This is rooted in the claimant’s interpretation of Islam, which is not tolerated by the jihadists.
Credibility and Subjective Fear
 When credibility is assessed, there are two principles that are followed.
 Firstly, when a claimant swears to the truthfulness of certain facts, there is a presumption that what he is saying is true unless there is reason to doubt it.
 Secondly, when assessing credibility, the Panel is entitled to rely on rationality and common sense. The determination as to whether a claimant’s evidence is credible is made on a balance of probabilities. The claimant’s telling of the problems he encountered with jihadists, in the context of his work at a primary school, are very consistent when one compares the Basis of Claim form and Basis of Claim form amendment, on the one hand and on the other hand, the numerous interviews with CBSA conducted while the claimant was in immigration detention on identity grounds.
 The Panel draws a positive inference from this finding that the claimant is credible when describing the problems he encountered with jihadists in Burkina Faso.
 The Panel gives little weight to the cousin’s statement to CBSA, that the claimant had no problems in Burkina Faso. This is, is the Panel has not had the opportunity to interview the cousin, who has not clarified the basis for his statements. The Panel note that the claimant says his cousin does not know him well and the claimant also testified that his cousin is a drunkard.
 The Panel has no reason to doubt the claimant’s assertions.
 An examination of the claimant’s 2014 passport shows that he exited Ivory Coast in [XXX] 2019, entering Burkina Faso in [XXX] ’19. His explanation for his decision to enter Burkina Faso in 2019, when the country was in turmoil, is reasonable in the circumstances.
 The claimant provided copies of three Burkina Faso passports issued respectively in 2005, 2009 and 2014, they are found at Exhibit 6. The claimant has travelled to Lebanon to work as a driver on numerous occasions over the years since 2010 and up to 2019. His passport also shows a Lebanese exit stamp dated [XXX]of[XXX] 2019.
 As the Panel accepts that the claimant did not have permanent residence status in Lebanon or another status allowing him to live and work there, the Panel does not draw a negative inference from the claimant’s failure to return to Lebanon in 2019, after the problems he encountered with jihadists in Burkina Faso. The claimant states in his Basis of Claim form that he travelled through Thailand in China on his way to Canada. He did not claim asylum in either, as he describes them as countries for tourists. Though this is not a strong explanation for a failure to claim elsewhere, his failure to claim asylum in these two countries is of no real consequence, given his credibility in regards to his main allegations.
Similarly Situated Persons and Objective Basis
 The U.S. Department of State report on Burkina Faso notes that armed groups connected to violent extremist organizations perpetrated more than three hundred attacks in 2019, resulting in hundreds of civilian deaths and many displaced people. The state of affairs is documented in other country conditions documents. The Panel accepts the violent extremist groups reek insecurity in Burkina Faso, which is a small landlocked country.
 The Panel accepts that the claimant runs a serious possibility of targeting by jihadist, as a result of the state of affairs.
 Claimants must show on a balance of probabilities that adequate state protection is not available. The issue before the Panel was whether it was objectively unreasonable for the claimants to have sought state protection. While states are presumed to be capable of protecting their nationals, it was opened to the claimants, according to the law, to rebut the presumption of protection with clear and convincing evidence.
 The Panel finds on the evidence that the claimants have rebutted that presumption.
 The Panel’s reasons are as follows.
 The presumption of state protection is rebutted by the failure of Burkina Faso authorities to provide effective adequate protection at an operational level. This failure is established by the hundreds of extremist attacks resulting in hundreds of civilian deaths in 2019, Human Rights Watch in a 2020 document and this is at page 111 of counsel’s disclosure at Exhibit 6, describes the state of affairs as [XXX] amounting to [XXX] a non-international armed conflict under the laws of war.
Internal Flight Alternative
 The analysis of internal flight alternative fails on the first prong. The 2018 Crime and Safety report at, mentioned at Item 2.1, indicates that Mali based extremist groups are active in the Sahel region of the country especially near the Malian and Niger borders. Mali based terrorist groups have claimed or been implicated in attacks in Ouagadougou in 2017 and 2016. The attacks, which were initially concentrated in the Northern Sahel region, have steadily spread to several other regions. Even Ouagadougou is described as facing a severe threat of terrorism and this is in counsel’s Exhibit 6, page 106.
 I accept that the country is locked or the Panel accepts that the country is locked in a downward spiral, as a result of this violent extremist activity. The porous borders which allow the penetration of various extremist groups from surrounding countries, makes the entire country dangerous for someone such as the claimant, who faces a serious possibility of persecution throughout Burkina Faso.
 Having considered all of the evidence, the Panel determines that there is a serious possibility that the claimant would be persecuted in Burkina Faso for one of the five grounds enumerated in the refugee Convention.
 The claimant has established his identity and is credible in his main allegations. Having come to this conclusion, the Panel has not conducted further assessment under Section 97(1).
 The Panel concludes that the claimant is a Convention refugee and the Panel therefore accepts his claim.
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