Categories
All Countries Cameroon

2019 RLLR 122

Citation: 2019 RLLR 122
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: February 19, 2019
Panel: R. Jackson
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Solomon Orjiwuru
Country: Cameroon
RPD Number: TB7-12430
ATIP Number: A-2021-00256
ATIP Pages: 000026-000029


DECISION

[1]       MEMBER: This is the decision of [XXX], who claims to be a citizen of Cameroon and is claiming refugee protection pursuant to Sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[2]       The panel finds the claimant is a Convention Refugee on the grounds of his membership in a particular social group, that of bisexual man in Cameroon, for the following reasons.

[3]       In rendering its reasons, the panel has considered the Chairperson’s Guideline Number 9 proceedings before the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada involving sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

[4]       The claimant has alleged that he identifies as bisexual. He alleges he has had a few same-sex relationships in Cameroon. He was married to a woman in Canada and they have divorced because she discovered that he had been carrying on a same-sex relationship in Canada.

[5]       He claimed refugee protection as he cannot live openly as a bisexual in Cameroon and fears persecution, arrest and discrimination at the hands of the family of his ex-wife, the community and the government due to his sexual orientation.

[6]       The claimant’s identity as a national of Cameroon is established by his testimony and the supporting documentation filed including a certified true copy of his passport in Exhibit 1.

[7]       His identity as a bisexual is established by his credible testimony and the supporting documentation filed including a letter from the claimant’s mother, a copy of her identity card, a letter from the claimant’s former landlord as well as the claimant’s divorce documents, wherein his sexual orientation is discussed. The supporting documentation does not establish the claimant’s sexual orientation all by itself, but it does support his allegations in that regard.

[8]       The claimant’s testimony regarding his sexual orientation was believable including how he described his relationships with his same-sex partners in Cameroon and in Canada.

[9]       The panel accepts that the claimant is bisexual because, in that regard, his testimony was coherent, spontaneous and he generally provided a sufficient level of detail when explaining his same-sex relationships with men. For these reasons, the panel finds that he has established his identity as a bisexual man on a balance of probabilities.

[10]     The panel also finds that his allegations are supported by the country documentation, which is found at the National Documentation Package for Cameroon, Items 2.1, 6.1, 6.4 and 6.6, which indicate that consensual same-sex sexual activity is illegal and punishable by a prison sentence of 6 months to 5 years and a fine.

[11]     Cameroon prosecutes people for consensual same-sex conduct more aggressively than almost any country in the world. Cameroon’s anti-homosexuality law is easily subject to abuse and can be used by virtually anyone as a method of settling scores.

[12]     It is also a recipe for extortion. There are numerous examples of sexual minorities who were arrested or who were victims of violence, similarly grave violations of human rights because of a person’s real or perceived sexual orientation has become common in Cameroon.

[13]     The climate in that country is marked by pervasive homophobia. Ordinary citizens often express extreme hatred towards LGBT individuals. In Cameroon, it is common to link homosexuality to witchcraft.

[14]     Given the claimant’s credible testimony, the objective country condition evidence and the supporting documents the claimant filed, the panel finds that the claimant would face a serious possibility of persecution in Cameroon based on his sexual orientation.

[15]     Based on his personal circumstances, the panel finds that it would be objectively unreasonable for him to seek the protection of the State, and in any event the State protection would not be reasonably forthcoming; the police are one of the agents of persecution.

[16]     It is very clear from the objective documentation that there is no State protection available to sexual minorities in Cameroon, same-sex acts are illegal in Cameroon and the NDP indicates that police do arrest people for engaging in consensual same-sex sexual activity.

[17]     A report by the Finnish Immigration Service at Item 6.4 states that when LGBTI people seek protection from abuse in their communities, police officers fail to protect these individuals.

[18]     Police officers not only discriminate against LGBTI individuals, but also engage in harassment and violence against them. The threat of arrest for homosexual conduct can deter LGBTI individuals from reporting crimes committed against them, and those committing the abuse have done so with impunity.

[19]     Given the documentary evidence, the panel finds there is clear and convincing evidence that adequate State protection is not available to the claimant.

[20]     The panel has considered whether a viable internal flight alternative exists for the claimant. On the evidence before the panel, there is a serious possibility of persecution throughout Cameroon.

[21]     Given that homophobia is widespread in Cameroon, the homosexual acts are illegal throughout all of Cameroon and there is no State protection throughout the whole of Cameroon, the panel finds there is no place the claimant could go in Cameroon where he could live openly as a bisexual man. For these reasons, the panel finds there is no viable internal flight alternative for him.

[22]     So, in conclusion, the panel finds that he is a Convention refugee and therefore accepts his claim.

[23]     This hearing is now concluded. So, thank you both for your participation today.

[24]     COUNSEL: Thank you so much.

[25]     CLAIMANT: Thank you.

[26]     MEMBER: You’re welcome.

———- REASONS CONCLUDED ———-

Categories
All Countries Cameroon

2019 RLLR 121

Citation: 2019 RLLR 121
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: August 19, 2019
Panel: W. Short
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Pablo Andres Irribarra Valdes
Country: Cameroon
RPD Number: TB7-23504
ATIP Number: A-2021-00256
ATIP Pages: 000023-000025


DECISION

[1]       MEMBER: This is my decision with respect to the claim of [XXX]. This is a 22-year-old man who is a citizen of Cameroon and he claims to be a Convention Refugee or a person in need of protection pursuant to the provisions of Section 96 and Subsection 97.1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[2]       The claimant alleges that should he return to Cameroon he would be in danger of his life and safety because of his sexual orientation as a gay man.

[3]       The claimant alleges that he became aware of his sexuality at around the age of 15 when he discovered while participating in sports he was much more attracted to his fellow male players and he was not attracted at all to females.

[4]       His problems became manifest when he was caught having an affair according to his evidence with a student teacher. He has also given oral evidence today as to how he was attacked by a mob and was rescued by the police but he was also arrested and he was put in hospital and the police checked on him every day.

[5]       He has testified to the fact that he has a couple of friends, male friends in Canada and I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the individual is a gay man.

[6]       I noticed that he arrived in Canada on [XXX], 2017 but did not claim refugee protection until two months later. When he was in Canada at first he was on a student visa.

[7]       Now, the student visa had been illegally obtained but I still take the approach that since it would have been difficult for the authorities to have deported the claimant during those two months he should be forgiven for the delay. He also said that he did not realize that he would apply immediately for refugee protection but was advised so by the gay help group, 519.

[8]       Therefore, I have determined that should the claimant return to Cameroon he would face more than a mere possibility of persecution on account of his sexuality which is a connection to one of the five grounds which define a Convention Refugee.

[9]       I am looking at Item 6.1 of the National Documentation Package. This is response to information request by this board and it is CMR106270.FE, it is dated May 8, 2019 and it says according to sources homosexual acts are illegal in Cameroon and the Penal Code provides for up to five years in prison for sexual activity with a same-sex partner.

[10]     Sources report that the section of the law penalizing homosexuality was retained during a reform of the Penal Code adopted in 2016. The Penal Code provides that whoever has sexual relations with a person of the same sex shall be punished by imprisonment from six months to five years and to a fine. Sources report that sexual minorities are subject to arrest and prosecution.

[11]     Cameroon prosecutes people with consensual same-sex conduct more aggressively than almost any other country in the word this report says; quoting an NGO. According to sources arrests and prosecution are based on suspicion rather than evidence and the Cameroonian authorities are in the main (inaudible) sexual gender and minorities instead of performing their function of protecting their citizens.

[12]     Not only that but the claimant’s testimony indicates that the attitude of the populous at large is very, very homophobic and it would be dangerous for him to be exposed to these individuals and he could expect no help whatsoever or protection from the police.

[13]     For these reasons I believe that the claimant has made out his case.

[14]     I find that he therefore is a Convention Refugee and his claim for refugee protection is accepted.

[15]     This oral decision will be transcribed into writing and it may be edited for grammar and syntax and we are now off the record.

———- REASONS CONCLUDED ———-

Categories
All Countries Cameroon

2019 RLLR 104

Citation: 2019 RLLR 104
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: November 22, 2019
Panel: Diane Hitayezu-Fall
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Denis Onek Olwedo
Country: Cameroon
RPD Number: TB8-11840
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000150-000153


DECISION

[1]       MEMBER: So, I have considered your testimony and the other evidence before me in this case and I’m ready to render my decision orally. So, this is a decision for the claim made by [XXX]. The file number is TB811840. The decision is rendered today, November 22nd, 2019. So, you were claiming to be a citizen of Cameroon and you are claiming refugee protection under Sections 96 and 97 of the Immigration and Refugee Act. So, my-, I have found you to be a refugee for the following reasons.

[2]       The details of your claim can be found in your Basis of Claim Form that is in Exhibit 2 and you allege that you are an Anglophone Cameroonian. You were born and you grew up in the Anglophone region in Kumba. You allege that you are a member of the Southern Cameroons National Counsel, SCNC. You allege that you have been a member since September 2009 and that because of your membership in the SCNC and your political activities, you have been mistreated by the government agents.

[3]       You allege that your life would be at risk if you were to return to Cameroon. And you allege that the-, the government agents who have mistreated you in the past and have been mistreating members of the SCNC will arrest you, detain you, torture you or even kill you. So, as I said, I found you, that you are Convention refugee, as you have established a serious possibility of persecution on account of your political opinion and political activities.

[4]       In terms of identity, I find that your identity is established by your testimony and the supporting documentation you have provided, which include, ele-, p-, Republic of Cameroon passport which is in Exhibit 1, document we received IRCC and your acad-, your academic documents in Exhibit 5. I find that your personal identity and the National, your National identity have been established as a commun-, a citizen of Cameroon. I assessed your credibility and I find-, I found you to be credible, you have been a credible witness and I believe what you have alleged in support of your claim.

[5]       You testified in a straight forward manner and you answered directly the questions. At the end of the hearing, there were no unexplained omissions. And I note, I did not note any contradictions between what your declared in your BOC, Basis of Claim and other forms in your testimony today. I noted, some mistakes on your documents, on the documents you submitted, spelling mistakes in the French portions of your document. I asked you about it and you could not explain how it happened. You only indicated that, it happened. However, I considered your oral testimony that was oral-, overall, candid, spontaneous and detailed. And it was detailed in all aspects of the claim, your passion, your activities as a member of SCNC and your activities in Canada. And I found that, the mistakes on the document would not overweigh your other portions of test-, testimony in the other documents you have provided.

[6]       So, in support of your allegations you have provided a number of documents that support your allegations. For your membership in SCNC, you provided your membership card that you obtained in September 2009 and then attestation of membership from SCNC dated October 30th, 2019. You have provided some letters from members who attest of your membership. Some SCNC leaders provided letter of supports, attesting that you attended meetings and that they knew about your arrest, detentions and your escape. I- it would not the-, in Exhibit 5, page 13 to 17 you provided letters from [XXX] and [XXX] and other people. And with respect to your detention and mistreaten-, mistreaten-, mistreatment in detention, you provided medical note from the hospital that treated you on two occasions after being mistreated in detention. And there are-, those are notes from the, is it [XXX], in Exhibit 5, 6-, pages 16 and 17. You also provided police documents, the bail bonds from 2010 to 2014, you have provide-, provided copies of your, the warrants for your arrest and the convocation to the police.

[7]       I have also the letter from the organization that helped with your release from detention on two occasions, the Human Rights Defence Group that helps SCNC members. After reviewing all this evidence in front of me, I have accepted what you have arranged in your BOC. And I find that you have established a subjective fear based on your political opinion and political activities.

[8]       So, I looked at the objective evidence and I found that the National Documentation Package for Cameroon, May 31st, 2019, contain information that supports your allegations, that as Anglophone and as somebody who is a member of SCNC and has been identified as an anro-, Anglophone who participates in the protest asking for equal rights for Anglophone, you would be persecuted in Cameroon. The objective evidence indicates that there continue to be reports of arrests and disappearances of individuals by security forces, particularly in the Anglophone regions. The National Documentation Package on Cameroon contains many reports on-, on Human Rights that describes the situation and the crisis in those Anglophone regions, item 2.1, 2.2, 2.5. I have other documents, many documents in Items 1-, in Section 1 and Section 4 and those reports, report serious human violation, abuses of civilians by government forces and sometimes Anglophone separatists. And regarding (inaudible) disappearances and people are detained, they are not allowed to contact their families and friends and they are denied access to legal representation and some are detained in an undisclosed location.

[9]       I noted that the Item 2.(inaudible ), the human rights issues highlighted in 2018, in the report for 2018 by the United States Department of States, on Cameroon include the prolonged arbitrary detention of suspected Anglophone separatists by security forces, harsh and life-threatening prison conditions. You testified about, what you endured during the detention and the issue may-, another issue mentioned in this report is that Anglophone Cameroonians are restricted in the rights to freedom of assembly, their freedom to express their political opinion and that the government has arrested, charged and killed in recent years, those who attempted to do so. I have a response to information request that, that tells us that Anglophone regions are located in the North-West, South-West Cameroon, when from. And then, it says that Anglophone are subjected to a policy of ongoing discrimination and they’re all often denied the right to use their language. They are subjected to-, to French legal and education system against their wish. And you have testify-, testified about your experiences in Cameroon, with having to do exams in a-, in French.

[10]     And the, there’s another document in, our response to information request, Item 13.2 and it refers to people living in the diaspora. And they are-, the government accuses them to instigate the war in Cameroon. And they, I know that Canada is involved with the countries name where Cameroonian’s have been sending money, accused of sending money to-, to Cameroon. And this, the documentation in the National Documentation Package says that, anyone is who is vocal will risk-, will be at risk if they go back to Cameroon, they risk to be arrested. Some are arrested at the airport, they-, they are detained and sometimes they would have to bribe, to get out. So, given that you have established by your testimony and the-, the supporting document that you have, come to the attention of the government of Cameroon as a person interested in Anglophone’s cause, you have been detained, interrogated. I find that your-, your fear of persecution is objectively founded. I found that, I find that you, the fear you express is well-founded and you have established that there is a serious possibility of persecution based on an imputed in your-, based on a political opinion.

[11]     I had to verify if state protection would be available to you if you had to go to Cameroon. And I looked at evidence before me and I found that adequate state protection would not be reasonably forthcoming in your particular case. Based on the information on file and given that-, given that the authority in Cameroon, the authorities are your agent of persecution, I find that it is objective-, objectively unreasonable for you to seek protection from the authorities in Cameroon. I find, that I have clear and convincing evidence before me in the objective evidence, as discussed. And I find that there is no adequate state protection available for you in Cameroon. I also, had to verify if you could relocate in Cameroon and I considered whether a viable internal flight alternative exists for you, but on the evidence before me, I find that there is a serious possibility of per-, persecution throughout Cameroon. There-, there are-, there are warrants to arrest you, so it is reasonable to believe that they may be executed anywhere in Cameroon. There is nothing the documentary evidence, that to indicate that Cameroon does not control its territory. I find that there is no internal alternative for you a place in Cameroon where you could express your political opinion without fear of persecution.

[12]     So, in conclusion I find that you are a Convention refugee and I, therefore, accept your claim.

———- REASONS CONCLUDED ———-

Categories
All Countries Cameroon

2019 RLLR 99

Citation: 2019 RLLR 99
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: January 28, 2019
Panel: A. Shaffer
Counsel for the claimant(s): Ugochukwu Udogu
Country: Cameroon
RPD Number: TB8-07480
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000114-000118


DECISION

[1]       MEMBER: Okay, I am sorry for the delay again. I took a few moments to consider the evidence and I am going to accept your claim. I just have to read my reasons, okay. It is going to take me a few minutes.

[2]       [XXX], you are a citizen of Cameroon and you are seeking refugee protection pursuant to Sections 96 and 97 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[3]       Your allegations are more fully set out in your Basis of Claim Form and in your testimony.

[4]       In summary, you allege that you fear persecution based on your political opinion and based on your ethnicity as an Anglophone Cameroonian. I find that you are a Convention refugee for the following reasons.

[5]       I find that you have established your identity on a balance of probabilities based on the certified true copies of your passport on files forwarded to the Refugee protection division by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada.

[6]       I find that you have established a nexus to a Convention ground to your ethnicity as an Anglophone Cameroonian.

[7]       With respect to credibility, I have serious concerns about your alleged Sur Place political opinion. I find much of your evidence about your political activity within the Southern Cameroon’s relief organisation suspect.

[8]       You alleged that you joined the party in early 2017 and attended a protest with this organisation in August 2017. You alleged that this protest is what led you to becoming of interest to the Cameroonian government. I am not persuaded by the evidence you presented on this matter.

[9]       All of your letters from this organisation indicate that you joined the organisation almost a year later than you said you did. You have no reasonable explanation for why you did not bring documentary evidence to correct the alleged error.

[10]     You had no documentary evidence to show that you attend this protest. I am not persuaded based on the evidence before me that you attended this protest.

[11]     I note that your documentary evidence indicates that you joined the organisation either shortly before or after you prepared your refugee claim.

[12]     You did not name the organisation correctly in your BOC, Basis of Claim Form and you had no reasonable explanation for why you would misname an organisation that you had allegedly joined which put your life at risk.

[13]     I had serious concerns about your motivation for joining this organisation and many other concerns about the evidence that you presented with respect to your alleged political activities.

[14]     However, I have no valid reason to doubt that you are an Anglophone from Cameron. I will rely on the Response to Information Request, CMR106141.E even though it was not disclosed prior to the hearing, but because the evidence contained within it is to your benefit.

[15]     I will excerpt the portion that I find particularly relevant, “A joint statement by a group of UN independent experts expressed concerns over reports of the violence in the South West and North West at the end of 2017 where the country’s Anglophone minority was reportedly suffering worsening human rights violations including excessive force by the security services, injuries, mass arrest, arbitrary detentions, torture, and other ill- treatments”, UN November 17th, 2017.

[16]     According to US country report 2017, “there continue to be reports of arrest and disappearances of individuals by security forces in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions, US, April 20th, 2018, 2.

[17]     A report by Amnesty International documents “unlawful killings and extrajudicial executions, destruction of private property, arbitrary arrest and torture committed by the Cameroonian security forces during military operations in the Anglophone regions including the burning down of villages”, Amnesty International, June 12th, 2018, 6.

[18]     Similarly, in correspondence with the research directorate or researcher in transnational African migration indicated that, more than 78 localities in Anglophone Cameroon have been burned down by the Cameroon military and that the civilians are killed on a daily basis, the Researcher, August 9th, 2018.

[19]     Correspondence with a Research Directorate, representative from International Crises Group indicated that in Bamenda, the regional capital of the predominantly Anglophone Northwest region the security of the Anglophones and Francophones too is not guaranteed.

[20]     This is because violence has been rising as a result of confrontation between security forces and armed separatists as well as several abuses on the population committed by both military and armed groups.

[21]     Security and military officers brutalise and then carry out arbitrary arrest, extort money from the population, intimidate girls and boys with guns and even rape girls. The above information on Bamenda also applies to Buea, Kumba, Menji, Mamfe, Bangu and other Anglophone localities especially rural areas”. International Crises Groups, August 3rd, 2018.

[22]     Similarly, in correspondence with the Research Directorate, a representative at Nouveaux droits de l’homme Cameroon, NDH Cameroon, an Yaounde-based NGO indicated in the document she prepared on the situation of Anglophones in Cameroon that armed forces in Bamenda <inaudible> fire live ammunitions, sometimes occupy houses at night for searches, carry out arbitrary arrest and use excessive force in all circumstances against individuals and Anglophone residents are caught in the crossfire of separatists and government forces”, NDH Cameroon, August 2018.

[23]     According to sources, people have fled the violence in Anglophone regions <inaudible> Cameroon May 29th, 2018, Caritas May 15th, 2018.

[24]     The UN reports that, “Anglophone Cameroonians began fleeing violence in October 2017 and continue to pour into Nigeria’s Cross River, Taraba, Enugu, Akwa, Ibom states and total over 20000 refugees have been arrested in the area, UN March 20th, 2018.

[25]     Amnesty International similarly reports that as a result of the security operations conducted in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions and the consequent violence, more than 20000 people fled to Nigeria and over 15000 people became internally displaced, Amnesty International June 12th,2018, page 6.

[26]     Similarly, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs OCHA reports that at least 160,000 people have been internally displaced in Cameroon’s Anglophone region, UN, 29th May, 2018.

[27]     In an emergency response for these regions, OCHA further explained that clashes between nonĀ­State armed groups and defence and security forces have displaced the civilian population into the surrounding forest and villages and that 80% of the displaced population have found refuge in the forest, UN, May 2018, page 3.

[28]     I find that the information contained in this RIR as well as other information from the National Documentation Package indicates that there is a serious possibility that Anglophones even ones that are not politically active, accordingly I find that as an Anglophone Cameroonian you face a serious possibility of persecution based on this ethnicity.

[29]     As the State is the agent of persecution against Anglophone Cameroonians, I find that here is no State protection available to you. For the same reason I find that, there is no internal flight alternative available to you.

[30]     Having considered all the evidence, I find that you are a Convention refugee for the above noted reason.

[31]     I am going to return your original documents. Thank you for your testimony today.

[32]     CLAIMANT: Thank you madam member.

[33]     MEMBER: That’s it.

[34]     This hearing is now concluded.

[35]     CLAIMANT: Are we off the record?

[36]     MEMBER: No, I don’t have discussions off the record. So if you would like to say something, go ahead?

[37]     CLAIMANT: Okay, So he did mean, additional, it is not why I mean it..

[38]     MEMBER: It’s fine. Everything is done. So it doesn’t matter. Thank you.

———- REASONS CONCLUDED ———-