All Countries Burundi

2020 RLLR 36

Citation: 2020 RLLR 36
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: February 13, 2020 (date of transcription)
Panel: N/A
Counsel for the Claimant(s): N/A
Country: Burundi 
RPD Number: MB8-27400
ATIP Number: A-2021-00655
ATIP Pages: 000035-000039

[1]       This is the claim of [XXX] in file number MB8-27400, citizen of Burundi, and claiming refugee protection under Sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. And, alleging a well-founded fear of persecution, by reason of your imputed political opinions.


[2]       I conclude that you have established that there is a serious possibility of persecution on a Convention ground.


[3]       Regarding your allegations, you have alleged the following. You are [XXX], from Burundi and a member of the Tutsi ethnic group. You fear, that should you return to Burundi, you will be perceived as an opponent of the government and subsequently face persecution at the hands of State authorities, including NISS, members of the CNDD-FDD Party, and the Imbonerakures. This fear is based on a number of factors. One being that prior to leaving Burundi, in 2014, at the end of… at the early [XXX] … in [XXX] 2015, in 2014 you were a student activist, and you had represented students at your youth university opposing a change in school policy, which brought you to the attention of the authorities at that time.

[4]       Not long after that event, you went to the U.S. on [XXX] 2015, with a Student Visa. And, you did seek asylum in the U.S. Your asylum application is still pending, but after receiving a letter from the Immigration authorities advising you that your asylum processing would be on the basis of a last… and first out, you decided to come to Canada because of the delays in having your claim processed in the U.S.

[5]       While being in the U.S.A., the situation in Burundi deteriorated, and there was also persecution towards ex-FAB members. The fact that your father is an ex-FAB, and the fact that you are a young Tutsi from Bujumbura, and who has resided out of the country for a number of years, are additional reasons why you fear persecution should you return to Burundi.



[6]       Regarding your identity, it has been established by acceptable documentation, namely your passport.


[7]       Regarding credibility, the onus is on refugee claimants to demonstrate the elements of their claim for refugee protection. And, regarding credibility, there is also a principle which is laid out in the Federal Court decision called Maldonado, which states that when a refugee claimant swears that certain facts are true, this creates a presumption that they are true, unless there is a valid reason to doubt their truthfulness. In your case, you testified in a spontaneous and detailed manner, and your testimony was consistent with the evidence on file. And, I do not make a negative conclusion regarding your credibility. In support of your claim, you also filed a number of documents. You supported documents to confirm your attendance at university in Burundi in 2014. Documents to corroborate your father is an ex-FAB. And, documents regarding your asylum application in the U.S.A.


[8]       Your allegations are also corroborated by objective evidence on country conditions. The documentary evidence in the National Documentation Package, in 13.6, indicates that Burundi has been in a crisis since the President announced in April 2015 a third mandate, and that since then the political and ethnic tensions in the country have increased, particularly for persons who would be perceived as an opponent. Which is a serious possibility, given your student activism, your father being ex-FAB and your ethnicity. Your father was a former soldier of the former Tutsi-dominated army called the ex-FAB. The documentary evidence in tabs 2.13 and 13.1 of the National Documentation Package support that ex-FAB members are being persecuted. According to sources, there is a purging of ex-FAB soldiers from the former Tutsi-dominated army. Human rights organizations have received on a regular basis information regarding assassinations, forced disappearance, torture, and arbitrary arrests of ex-FAB members.

[9]       With regards to ethnicity, you are a young male Tutsi, whose family resided in Bujumbura, an area that is at times considered hostile to the government. The objective evidence on country conditions supports that those who are perceived as opposing the government in power do face persecution, and the current situation in Burundi has deteriorated for political opponents and for the gen… the population in general in the country. Following the presidential elections held in July 2015, Burundi has been shaken by wave killings of members of political parties of all sides. These killings exemplify the climate of general insecurity in the country. A U.S. Country report stated that there were numerous reports the government, or its agents, committed arbitrary or unlawful killings, often against perceived supporters of the political opposition or those who exercise their lawful rights. The 2018 report of the U.N. Commission Inquiry, whose members were denied access to the country by the government, but who conducted interviews with more than 400 witnesses living in exile, restated its conclusion from the previous year and found reason to believe that arbitrary killings remain a widespread practice in Burundi, and that members of the National Intelligence Service, police and Imbonerakures, were mostly responsible for these killings.

[10]     Regarding your ethnicity, the documentary evidence would also indicate the following in 13.1, in a report that was published  in 2016 by the International Federation of Human Rights and the Burundian Human Rights League, state that while the ethnic factor is not always the primary motivation for crimes committed by the Burundian security forces, it tends to become an indicator of the violence exercised by the Burundian authorities against those they suspect of being opposed to the President’s third term. The same source states that Tutsi populations are thus perceived as being opposed by nature to the power in place and are persecuted for this reason. And that, according to another source, Burundi’s ongoing political crisis has not occurred primarily on ethnic nine… ethnic lines, nonetheless in some places in the country violence has taken on explicitly violent dimensions. In most instances of ethnically charged violence, and this is violence that has largely targeted Tutsis.


[11]     Regarding State protection, taking into consideration the objective evidence regarding the situation in Burundi and of those perceived as opponents, and those who are Tutsi, as I indicated earlier, there are reports that indicate authorities have been the perpetrators of acts of violence towards persons in your… in your situation or a similar situation. Therefore, due to the current situation in Burundi at this time and the overall insecurity in the country, I find that it would be unreasonable for you to seek State protection, and the presumption of State protection is rebutted.


[12]     Regarding an internal flight alternative, haven’t take… having taken into consideration your particular circumstances and profile, I find that the fear you have alleged would be found throughout the country, and therefore a viable alter… internal flight alternative would not be available.


[13]     Having analyzed the evidence as a whole, I find that you have discharged your burden of establishing that there is a serious possibility that you would be persecuted on a Convention ground, and therefore I accept your claim for refugee protection. Alright, ok. So, that puts an end to the hearing.

All Countries Burundi

2020 RLLR 7

Citation: 2020 RLLR 7
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: January 28, 2020
Panel: Jacqueline La
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Cynthia Niteka
Country: Burundi
RPD Number: MB7-24231
ATIP Number: A-2021-00540
ATIP Pages: 000044-000049



[1]       The claimant, [XXX], born on [XXX], 1967, is a citizen of the Republic of Burundi. He is claiming protection in Canada under section 96 and subsection 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).


[2]       The claimant is of Tutsi ethnicity. From 1986 until his retirement in 2010, the claimant worked [XXX].

[3]       In 2015, when Burundian president Pierre Nkurunziza declared that he wanted to run in the elections, even though he knew that a third presidential term violated the provisions of the Constitution, which set the limit at two terms, Burundi was plunged into a serious crisis marked by ethnic clashes. The Tutsis were accused of trying to destabilize the government, and former members of the Tutsi-dominated Burundian armed forces (ex-FAB) were apparently targeted by the Burundian authorities.

[4]       When he realized that several of his former colleagues had been victims of targeted killings, and after becoming a person of interest to the police, the claimant started sensing that his own safety was at risk.

[5]       Accordingly, the claimant left Burundi on [XXX], 2017, and after a brief two-week stay in the United States, he came to Canada and claimed refugee protection.



[6]       The claimant’s identity was established to the panel’s satisfaction by a copy of his passport issued by the Burundian authorities that was entered on the record.1 The panel concludes that it is an acceptable document establishing identity within the meaning of section 106 of the IRPA.


[7]       In general, no contradictions, omissions or implausibilities were identified in the claimant’s testimony. In support of his allegations about his lengthy career in the Burundian [XXX], the claimant filed a photograph of himself [XXX],2 a certificate of service issued by the [XXX],3 and his bank: statement showing deposits of his retirement pension from the [XXX].4

[8]       In short, the panel finds that the claimant is a credible witness.

[9]       So, what does the documentary evidence on the ex-FAB say?

[10]     For decades, the Tutsis were given preferential treatment over their Hutu compatriots in the FAB.

[11]     However, following the Arusha peace agreement and the election of President Nkurunziza, a Hutu, in 2005, the FAB had to integrate thousands of former Hutu rebels into the corps. As a result, many Tutsi soldiers from past military regimes were quietly retired from their commands, transferred or dispersed to isolated provincial locations.5

[12]     In 2015, there was strong opposition to President Nkurunziza’s decision to run in the presidential elections because it violated the constitution, which limited the presidency to two terms.

[13]     Divisions between the ethnic groups in Burundi started to manifest themselves, especially within the security forces.6 The movement against the third term became more ethnically driven against the Tutsis and became more about the military.7 Since the beginning of the crisis and especially since January 2017, the army has been the target of a purge and reprisal campaigns mainly against the ex-FAB, both active and retired.8 The Burundian authorities have been accused of being involved in dozens of targeted murders, forced disappearances and arbitrary arrests of former soldiers and police officers in the Tutsi-dominated Burundian armed forces. The evidence also indicates that the bodies of ex-FAB soldiers, both active and retired, are often found in rural or urban areas.9 The ex-FAB are considered to be disloyal elements in the army and likely to tum against President Nkurunziza because of their ethnicity.

[14]     So, after learning that two of his former [XXX] had been arrested by the police, the claimant decided not to respond to the summons from the commissioner general10 and to leave the country.

[15]     Given those circumstances, even though the claimant was not personally targeted before he left his country, the evidence shows that ex-FAB members are persecuted by the current regime by reason of their real or imputed political opinion. As Justice Shore eloquently stated in Matore,11 “Something must certainly be done before we see the corpses in the media.”

State protection

[16]     The evidence is clear: opponents of the regime, or people perceived as such, as in the case of the ex-FAB, cannot expect to obtain protection from protection and security services, who are politicized in favour of the Nkurunziza regime.12

[17]     Therefore, at this time, it is simply unreasonable to expect that the claimant could obtain adequate protection from the authorities, when they are his agent of persecution. Accordingly, the panel is of the opinion that the presumption of state protection has been rebutted.

Internal flight alternative

[18]     As mentioned, in this case, the agent of persecution is the entire state apparatus, which has the interest and the necessary resources to find the claimant no matter where he is, especially in a small country like Burundi. Therefore, the panel concludes that there is no internal flight alternative.


[19]     Having considered all the evidence, the panel concludes that the claimant has discharged his burden of establishing that there is a serious possibility that he would be persecuted on one of the five Convention grounds. The panel determines that he is a “Convention refugee.”


[20]     The refugee protection claim is allowed.

(signed)           Jacqueline La

January 28, 2020

1 Document 1 – Information package provided by the Canada Border Service Agency and/or Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada: Passport.
2 Document 4 – Exhibit P-11: Photograph of [XXX] in a [XXX]. Document 4 – 3
3 Exhibit P-1: Certificate of service.
4 Document 4 – Exhibit P-7: Cooperative statement (for [XXX] retirement pension).
5 Document 3 – National Docupentation Package, Burundi, March 29, 2019 (NDP on Burundi), Tab 13.1: Response to Information Request, BD1105750.FE, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, March 6, 2017.
6 Supra, footnote 5.
7 Idem.
8 Document 3 – NDP on Burundi, Tab 2.7: Burundi on the Brink: Looking Back on Two Years of Terror, International Federation for Human Rights; Ligue burundaise des droits de l’homme [Burundian human rights league], June 2017, p.12.
9 Idem.
10 Document 4 – Exhibits P-2 and P-3: Convocations de la police nationale du Burundi [summonses from the Burundi national police].
11 Matore v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2017 FC 1009.
12 Document 3 – NDP on Burundi, Tab 2.1: Burundi. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018, United States, Department of State, March 13, 2019.

All Countries Burundi

2019 RLLR 84

Citation: 2019 RLLR 84
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: April 25, 2019
Panel: R. Jackson
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Micheal F. Loebach
Country: Burundi
RPD Number: TB7-08140
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000023-000026


[1]       [XXX], a citizen of Burundi, is claiming refugee protection pursuant to ss. 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act1 (IRPA).


[2]       The panel issued this decision without a hearing in accordance with paragraph 170(f) of the IRPA and the relevant instructions.


[3]       The panel finds that the claimant is a Convention refugee, as he has established that he faces a serious possibility of persecution on Convention grounds, if he returns to Burundi, by reason of his imputed political opinion and ethnicity.


[4]       The claimant is 21 years old and a Tutsi.

[5]       The claimant’s allegations are contained in his Basis of Claim (BOC) form. In summary, he fears returning to Burundi because he has been targeted in the past by Jmbonerakures and other state actors due to his ethnicity and imputed anti-government political opinion. The authorities and state actors have also persecuted his family members over the years, due to their Tutsi ethnicity and real or imputed political opinions.



[6]       The claimant’s identity as a national of Burundi was established by a copy of his passport.2


[7]       The claimant’s allegations were credible and supported by probative evidence.

[8]       He presented various documents supporting certain aspects of his claim, particularly regarding the treatment his family members’ have received in Burundi.

[9]       The National Documentation Package (NDP) for Burundi shows the political violence in Burundi, government repression and violence against anti-government protesters and political opponents3.

[10]     The objective documentation mentions that protests against the government have involved Hutu and Tutsi; that Tutsi are often targeted4; and that family members of political opponents to the government’s third term of the president are subject to violence from government authorities or supporters due to their imputed political opinion.5 Sexual violence remained pervasive and was often used as a means of torture to obtain information or confessions from detainees. Rape was also committed while police officers or members of the Imbonerakure arrested a victim’s spouse or relative accused of belonging to an opposition party.

[11]     An example that illustrates the situation in Burundi is that on December 11, 2015, police and military personnel summarily executed dozens of persons in Bujumbura Mairie, including in Nyakabiga and Musaga. The bodies of persons who had been executed were also found in the commune of Mukike (Bujumbura Province). The extrajudicial executions that took place in December 2015, on a scale that exceeded those reported since April 2015, were accompanied or followed by torture, rape and arbitrary arrests.6

[12]     There are reports of summary executions by the Imbonerakure, acting either as auxiliaries of the defense and security forces or on their own initiative.7

[13]     There is ample evidence in the NDP indicating that there is a risk to Tutsis in Burundi when they are associated with political opposition, such as residing in an area associated with anti-regime protests or with a high population of Tutsis.

[14]     The objective documentation is consistent with the claimant’s allegations. The panel therefore accepts his allegations and that he has a subjective fear of returning to Burundi.


[15]     There is clear and convincing evidence before the panel that the state is unable or unwilling to protect the claimant, since the state is the agent of persecution. As noted in the objective documentation referred to above, the government has effective control of its territory.


[16]     Based on the evidence before the panel, there is a serious possibility of persecution throughout Burundi.

[17]     As indicated in the evidence above, the state is the agent of persecution and the government has effective control of its territory and would probably eventually find the claimant in another area of Burundi. Remaining in hiding in that country is unreasonable.


[18]     The claimant, [XXX], is a Convention refugee due to his imputed political opinion.

[19]     The panel accepts his claim.

(signed)           R. Jackson

April 25, 2019

1 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c.27 as amended.
2 Exhibit I – passport.
3 Exhibit 3 – National Documentation Package (NDP) for Burundi (March 29, 2019), items 2.1, 4.7 and 13.1.
4 Ibid., items 2.1 and 13.6.
5 Ibid., items 2.1 and 4.14.
6 Ibid., item 2.10.
7 Ibid.

All Countries Burundi

2019 RLLR 82

Citation: 2019 RLLR 82
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: December 31, 2019
Panel: Elsa Kelly-Rhéaume
Country: Burundi
RPD Number: MB9-07334
Associated RPD Number(s): MB9-07374
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000015-000019

[1]       After having heard the evidence and analyzed it, the Board is ready to render its decision with regards to the claims of [XXX] (file number MB9-07334) and his sister [XXX] (file number MB9-07374).

[2]       The claimants allege they are citizens of Burundi and they are seeking refugee protection pursuant to Sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[3]       The claimants allege that they are Hutu. In 2018, they completed their high school diploma in Rwanda. Upon return to Burundi in [XXX] 2018, the claimant, [XXX], alleges that he received a police summons asking him to present himself to the police on December 23rd, 2018. When he presented himself at this state, intelligence agents questioned him about what he had been doing in Rwanda. They took his phone and implied that he was involved with a group of youths spreading propaganda on social media.

[4]       The claimant also alleges that he was kidnapped on January 25th, 2019 where his watch and phone were stolen and he was held without food or water for two days. He alleges that he was beaten and interrogated with regards to the reasons he went to Rwanda and asking him who he was working with to undermine the government in Burundi. In the end, he was released because his father paid millions of francs to his abductors.

[5]       The claimant, [XXX], alleges that she received threatening phone calls from individuals saying that she would be killed and raped because she was gathering information on Burundi in order to help groups in Rwanda.

[6]       The claimants arrived in Canada on [XXX], 2019 and sought asylum on April 10th, 2019.

[7]       The Board finds that the claimants are “Convention refugees” as they have established a serious possibility of persecution should they return to their country of origin based on one of the grounds set out in Section 96 of the IRPA, namely their imputed political opinion for being suspected of working against the government of Burundi.

[8]       With regards to identity, the claimants provided certain identity documents at the request of the Board that contained many errors. During the first hearing, the claimants had difficulty explaining the reasons for these mistakes.

[9]       At the second hearing, the claimant Mrs. [XXX] explained that she had since spoken to her father who told her that he had obtained these documents when the claimants were already in Canada. Her father said that he had gone to different authorities to obtain the required documents, but as he does not read French he did not realize they contained mistakes. He also told her that he obtained a new national identity card for her because he couldn’t find her original one at home.

[10]     Thus, the Board gives no weight to the following identity documents as they contained many mistakes and the claimants have not established that they were obtained legitimately: Exhibits C-1 and C-2 which are the attestations of residence, C-10 and C-12 which are the birth certificates and C-13 which is the national identity card for Mrs. [XXX].

[11]     That being said, the claimants also submitted as evidence of their identity their two authentic passports on which the information is consistent with the claimants’ declarations. The claimants were also able to explain how they had obtained these passports and their explanations were conforming with the documentary evidence.

[12]     They also submitted several laissez-passer which are authentic documents given by Burundi for allowing them to travel and study in Rwanda. These documents do not contain any anomalies and are consistent with the information found in their passports. Consequently, the Board gives these primary identity documents weight and strong probative value with regards to the claimants’ identities.

[13]     While the Board evidently does not condone the fabrication of documents to bolster an asylum claim, it accepts the claimants’ explanation with regards to their father’s undertakings to obtain these documents while the claimants were already in Canada. The claimants are both young and relied on their father to obtain these documents as they thought they were absolutely necessary for their asylum claim.

[14]     In conclusion, the identity of the claimants has been established as nationals of Burundi on a balance of probabilities.

[15]     With regards to credibility, the claimants were both credible witnesses. With regards to the threats and violence suffered in Burundi, the claimant, [XXX], recounted in detail how he was detained and interrogated several times. He also explains his dissatisfaction of the Board why he did not write about his detention in his IMM 5669 form. He submitted that he did not know who had abducted him and because he had not been taken to a legitimate jail, he did not think that he had to write this information in the form. The Board finds that this is a logical explanation as the claimant was not detained lawfully.

[16]     The claimant, [XXX], also testified in detail about the threatening phone calls she received and she added significant details to those already found in her Basis of Claim form which bolster her credibility.

[17]     The claimants also provided documentary evidence that supported their allegations. Exhibits C-3 through C-7 proves that they indeed attended high school in Rwanda and Exhibit C-18 is a copy of the police summons that was issued to the principal claimant. In light of their credibility and the supporting documents provided, the claimants have proven their allegations on a balance of probabilities.

[18]     The Board finds that the claimants have established that they face a future risk of being subjected to arbitrary detention, ill treatment such as physical assault and torture, sexual violence and death if they had to return to Burundi.

[19]     The documentary evidence found in the National Documentation Package at Tabs 1.5, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 10.5 and 13.1 states that authorities in Burundi and Imbonerakure are responsible for serious human rights violations, summary executions, rape, kidnappings and intimidation of people who are perceived to be political opponents. Furthermore, Tab 1.5 states that individuals who have lived in the countries surrounding Burundi such as in Rwanda have been subjected to arbitrary arrests and other human rights violations as they are suspected of collaborating with rebel groups based in Rwanda who are seeking to overthrow the regime in Burundi.

[20]     Not only do the claimants fit that profile as they studied in Rwanda, but they also lived in Kasikibuye (phonetic), a neighbourhood where many young people have been arrested and where mass graves have been found. In light of the attacks and threats received by both claimants in Burundi, the Board finds that they face a serious possibility of persecution were they to return to their country of origin.

[21]     The Board further finds that there is clear and convincing evidence that the State is unable or unwilling to provide them with adequate protection. In the case at hand, the agents of persecution are agents of the State such as the police, intelligence services and the Imbonerakure. As such, the claimants cannot reasonably receive any kind of State protection. The claimants have rebutted the presumption of State protection in this particular case.

[22]     The Board finally analyzed whether the claimants could avail themselves of an internal flight alternative within Burundi. However, because they face persecution from State agents who control the entire country, they could not safely relocate anywhere. State authorities and Imbonerakure have demonstrated that they have the interest and ability to track down any presumed political opponent. Thus, they do not have a viable internal flight alternative.

[23]     Based on this analysis, the Board reiterates that the claimants are “Convention refugees” and their claims are accepted.