Categories
All Countries Egypt

2020 RLLR 35

Citation: 2020 RLLR 35
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: February 5, 2020 (date of transcription)
Panel: N/A
Counsel for the Claimant(s): N/A
Country: Egypt 
RPD Number: MB8-25654
ATIP Number: A-2021-00655
ATIP Pages: 000028-000034


[1]       This is the decision in the claim of Mr. [XXX], his wife Madam [XXX] and their minor children, [XXX], [XXX] and [XXX] who are citizens of Egypt and are claiming asylum pursuant to Section 96 and Subsection 97.1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act hereafter referred to the IRPA.

[2]       The Claimant’s allegations appear in the Principal Claimant’s Basis of Claim form hereafter referred to as the BOC and his written narrative from which the tribunal retains the following central allegations.

[3]       So, the main Claimant was working for [XXX] as an [XXX] for [XXX]. In this capacity he had been mandated to represent the interests of his [XXX] and specifically for this case for the [XXX], or [XXX] on or about 2015. Having been informed of the cancellation of the [XXX] he took the initiative on or about [XXX], 2016 to organize a meeting with [XXX] [phonetic] of the [XXX].

[4]       During their conversation or discussion, should I say, he would have said to [XXX] that the military were indeed taking control over the country which was led [XXX] to terminate abruptly the meeting. Later on, his human resources department would have called him and told him that he was removed from [XXX], [XXX]. That wasn’t all. This episode led to the following incidents which are forming the basis of their refugee claim.

[5]       On [XXX], 2016 at about 3 o’clock the Claimant was arrested from home and brought to [XXX] where he was detained for [XXX] days plus one week and questioned about the Muslim Brotherhood, the revolution of the 25th of January, 2011 and the revolution of the 30th of June, 2013. He will eventually be released upon accepting to write a statement in which he engaged himself not to participate in future political events nor to express his political views in the future and therefore he was released.

[6]       A second arrest took place on [XXX], 2017. In fact, the Claimant was about to leave his office located in [XXX] which is a neighborhood of [XXX] in order to meet a friend or a colleague from [XXX] and once at the [XXX] he was arrested by the police and taken to the national security building. He was slapped, interrogated, humiliated and later on put in detention under poor conditions.

[7]       His release was secured after [XXX] days. However, he soon realized that they were direct repercussions to his problems with the [XXX] as his employer had forced him to resign and accordingly, he was facing a loss of several benefits. He was told directly and indirectly that the intelligence unit or national security apparatus had informed the employer that to keep him in this position was not good for their business. And it is understood according to the Claimant that he was sacrificed on the basis of higher commercial interests of [XXX].

[8]       This led him to make the decision to visit Canada with his wife, his younger child and his mother on [XXX], 2017. However, as two of his children had remained in Egypt the Co­Claimant was forced to return to Egypt on [XXX], 2017 while the Principal Claimant remained in the Montreal area. It appears that he was trying to heal from the past incidents.

[9]       However, he was informed that the police raided his house on [XXX], 2018 in his absence as they were looking for him in order to arrest him. This prompted this decision to depart from Canada and return back to Cairn which he did on [XXX], 2018. Even though he was not arrested he was detained at the passport unit for two hours and let go.

[10]     Again, on [XXX], 2018 he was arrested from home by joint forces including police and army personnel, taken by truck outside Cairn and put in detention in a facility which was unofficial according to him. And where the regime opponents were detained. It is his understanding that the people there were mostly accused or suspected of having activities with the Muslim Brotherhood or to have western views or collaborating with western countries. He was later on taken to [XXX] [phonetic] where he was released as his wife was waiting for him.

[11]     Upon this last release the Claimant decided to go to the north part of Egypt to be as much as possible away from his family for their safety and it is on or about [XXX], 2018 that he took the decision to leave Egypt in order to seek international protection. As he was fearful of being controlled and possible arrested but also afraid of putting his wife and children in danger, he decided to contact people and try to organize a collaboration of state security apparatus in place by paying individuals that would facilitate his departure from Egypt without any problems.

[12]     It is therefore in those circumstances that the Claimant came to Canada with the idea of claiming refugee status which led to the current hearing.

[13]     Naturally as minor children are involved in the process of this hearing the tribunal had the opportunity to confirm that for this proceeding the main Claimant, Mr. [XXX] was appointed and accepted the responsibilities of Designated Representative for his minor children, namely, [XXX], [XXX] and [XXX]. This in accordance with Section 167(2) of the IRPA and RPD Rule 20 and Guideline No. 3.

[14]     Under the rubric of determination, the tribunal finds that the Claimants have established that they would face a serious possibility of persecution on a Convention ground should they return to their home country, Egypt. Therefore, the tribunal finds that they are “Convention Refugees”.

[15]     In making this assessment the tribunal considered all of the evidence including the oral testimonies and the documentary evidence filed by the board but also by their counsel.

[16]     The Claimant’s identities as citizens of Egypt is established through their original passports containing a Canadian visa. Their passports were seized by Canada Border Services Agency, CBSA and therefore the Claimants have met their burden of proof to the satisfaction of the tribunal.

[17]     Under the rubric of nexus in this case the Claimant’ s fear are linked to two Convention grounds. First political opinion and secondly, membership in a particular social group, namely the family group for the Co-Claimant and the children.

[18]     As for the credibility, when a Claimant swears that certain facts are true this creates a presumption that they are indeed true unless there is a valid reason to doubt their veracity. The determination as to whether a Claimant’s evidence is creditable is made on the balance of probabilities. In assessing credibility, the tribunal was mindful of the Claimant’s profile. The tribunal is cognizant of many difficulties faced by claimants in establishing a claim including cultural factors, the milieu of the hearing room, the stress inherent in responding to questions and sometimes through an interpreter and nervousness.

[19]     It is important to mention that the Claimant’s allegations were also supported by numerous documentary evidence establishing that they were targeted by the state security apparatus, the police force and or the military and that the Principal Claimant was detained on several occasions.

[20]     To this effect it is important to mention that the Principal Claimant professional and corporate profile was established through several documents including but not limited to his CV, social insurance contributions, internal communications at [XXX]. All of these documents were filed under Exhibit 4, Item P4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 16, 17 and 18.

[21]     As for the prosecutor incidents they were also corroborated by the Claimant’s letter of resignation to [XXX] and numerous police reports and lawyer’s letters. Indeed, we have the resignation letter filed under Exhibit 4, Item P9 but also, we have a police report filed as Item P10 for the arrest of [XXX], 2016, P11 concerning the disappearance of the Principal Claimant on [XXX], 2017, P12 concerning the police raid on the residence of the Claimant on [XXX], 2018 and finally Exhibit P14 pertaining to the arrest of [XXX], 2018.

[22]     Accordingly, we had also the benefit of seeing the letters from his lawyer pertaining to the raid of [XXX], 2018 filed as Item P13 and the letter to the Attorney General sent by his lawyer pertaining to his arrest and detention following the event of [XXX], 2018.

[23]     So, all this evidence stated above corroborated the Claimant’s allegations of the persecutory acts they have faced and also of their subjective fear of returning back to Egypt and facing again persecution at the hands of the state security apparatus.

[24]     In reaching this conclusion the panel also considering Section 203 of the UNHCR Handbook on procedures and criteria for determining refugee status as it states that it is hardly possible for refugee claimants to prove every part of their case and also Section 39 which states that a person would not normally abandon his home and country without some compelling reasons. As a matter of fact, under the objective basis the tribunal further finds that the Claimant’s evidence as a whole is generally consistent with the objective documentary evidence.

[25]     Indeed, Exhibit 4, Item 19, filed on behalf of the Claimant consists of three newspaper articles pertaining to the arrest of opponents to the regime or their suspicious disappearances. Moreover, the latest Human Rights Watch Report for 2018 refers to the regime’s campaign of intimidation, violence and arrests against political opponents, the civil society and whoever criticizes the government.

[26]     The fight against terrorism is the general pretext for the repression and multiple human rights abuses in order to silence even the most pacifist opponents. In fact, the poor human rights record of the current Egyptian regime is detailed throughout the National Documentation Package as it [phonetic] appears from Exhibit No. 3. Therefore, the Claimants allegations are plausible within the social and political environment prevailing in Egypt.

[27]     As for the state protection and the internal flight alternative even though the tribunal has not identified such issues it is important to mention that the state is the agent of persecution and the state of Egypt is in full control over its sovereign territory protection and state protection and IFA are not viable options in the case at bar.

[28]     Finally, under the rubric of conclusion the tribunal finds that the Claimants have established that they would face a serious possibility of persecution on a Convention ground in Egypt.

[29]     Having considered all of the evidence the tribunal determines that Mr. [XXX], his wife [XXX] and their minor children, [XXX], [XXX] and [XXX] are “Convention Refugees” pursuant to Section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[30]     It is therefore unnecessary for the tribunal to conduct an analysis of Section 97(1) of the Act.

[31]     On behalf of all Canadians but in my personal name I welcome you to Canada and wish that you will be able to find happiness here and serenity and that you will be able to materialize your dreams.

[32]     Therefore, I would like to express my sincere thanks to Maître Beauchemin for his usual collaboration and to our interpreter and I wish you a wonderful day. It is now two minutes past eleven and this is ending today’s hearing in the case number MB8-25654. Have a nice day everyone.

Categories
All Countries Egypt

2019 RLLR 141

Citation: 2019 RLLR 141
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: August 20, 2019
Panel: Y. Rozenszajn
Counsel for the Claimant(s): El-Farouk Khaki
Country: Egypt 
RPD Number: TB8-33214
ATIP Number: A-2021-00256
ATIP Pages: 0000128-000132


DECISION

[1]       MEMBER: So, I have considered the testimony and the other evidence in the case and I am ready to render my decision orally.

[2]       The oral reasons form the basis of the decision and they are recorded on a CD Rom; a transcript is also produced but the transcript does not get viewed for any spelling errors or mistakes, so if there is any doubt as to the meaning in the transcription regard must be had to the original CD Rom audio recording.

[3]       So, the claimant [XXX] claims to be a citizen of Egypt and is claiming refugee protection pursuant to Sections 96 and 97.1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[4]       I have considered the Guidelines on Guideline 9, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression guideline, SOBI Guideline in deciding the claim.

[5]       By way of determination I find that the claimant is a Convention Refugee for the following reasons.

[6]       I find he has established a serious possibility of persecution based upon the convention ground of particular social group, which is gay men in Egypt or homosexual men in Egypt.

[7]       The claimant’s allegations are found in Exhibit 2 which is his basis of claim form and he basically alleges that he is a gay man, that he has known since 11 that he was homosexual and he likes men and is not attracted to women.

[8]       It is a very long story and I am not going to summarize all of it, but suffice to say that he likes Europe, he likes Germany, he has been many, many times to Europe. He studied there and went back and there were many attempts at seeking jobs and other forms of permanent status in Europe over the years and he just was not able to and he always came back to live in Egypt where he basically either was a recluse or he was engaged in some form of online gay dating to the best of his abilities as he could and when those platforms came on the market and (inaudible) sufficiently.

[9]       He alleges that he had great hopes for Egypt during the revolution, but it did not materialize. He alleges that ultimately he was actually entrapped while using a (inaudible) application where he was basically arrested by a couple of undercover cops who then basically abused him, took him to the station and then eventually let him go.

[10]     At that point he felt he was unsafe in Egypt and he came to Canada where he claimed refugee protection.

[11]     So, in terms of the claimant’s identity as a national of Egypt, I find he has established his identity by reason of the supporting documentation and his testimony, mainly his Egyptian passport. I find he is a national of Egypt as he alleged.

[12]     In terms of credibility, I find the claimant to be ultimately a credible witness and therefore believe what he has alleged in support of his claim. His identity as a homosexual man is supported by numerous documents, including various profiles and text messages and exchanges with various other gay men, which is in the record such as in Exhibit 10 and 11. There are a number of support letters also that testify to that.

[13]     His testimony generally consists on that particular aspect of his credibility or his story, so there is no reason to question it.

[14]     The main issues in this case were … before we get into the re-availments I would also note that there were a couple of omissions from the basis of claim form, such as the names of the officers who arrested him, but I find that I accept his explanation that they were either fake names or he did not remember or they were not actually listed properly because they were just really quick messages that did not actually mention the name. I find all that is sufficient and I find that there is really no reason to expect that he would learn the names of the undercover officers if they actually were undercover. So, I find there is no reason to doubt his credibility on that basis having heard the explanation.

[15]     The main issue really is the numerous re-availments to Egypt and failures to claim over a very, very lengthy period of time, stretching all the way to the 1990s and just the continuing ability to enter and exit Egypt constantly and really no apparent fear to return and leave Egypt as a gay man.

[16]     So, I put that to the claimant and he explained that really it has got to do with his risk profile that changed materially recently, just before he left when he was arrested which really caused him to fear his safety. Beforehand he really wanted to live he says in Europe and he made many, many efforts to get jobs in Europe and that also is corroborated and appears credible on its face as we can see in the record, given the numerous letters of responses for various jobs and permits he tried to get.

[17]     But he felt that the risk was just too high, that he would be barred from Europe in the future. He could not continue to try to get a job or that it might even lead him into more trouble if he was deported as a failed refugee claimant.

[18]     Now, I find that I ultimately accept his explanations because there is a very evident desire to leave the country, but he wanted to do it in a more commercial skilled-worker fashion and that is a legitimate reason and I find also that there is a big difference between his risk profile in those past years and the risk profile that he has now, which is he now has a record with the police, a record of arrest and so his risk profile is a lot higher than it was before.

[19]     Ultimately, you know, it is ultimately his decision as to why he chose to live as a recluse in Egypt and put himself at risk like that where he could not be openly homosexual, it is really his own problem at this point, but I find that in terms of his credibility it is sufficient that his risk profile is just different now than it used to be and so again, there is no reason to doubt his credibility and I do not find that the re­ availments are sufficient to therefore dismiss the claim in and of itself.

[20]     Having found him credible I find there is also a nexus to the convention, it clearly goes to a particular social group.

[21]     In terms of state protection I find that state protection has been rebutted in this case because it will not be reasonably forthcoming given that the agent of persecution is the State, it is the police, the undercover authorities and that is well corroborated in the Item 2.1 of the NDP, the U.S. DOS report which states that in fact the government does go online and track homosexuals who on various (inaudible) applications and they prosecute LGBTI persons on charges such as debauchery and violating teachings of religion. There are prison sentences upon conviction of up to 10 years.

[22]     According to a local rights group there have been more than 250 reports of such arrests since 2013 and while there are anti-discrimination laws they are not used to protect the homosexual individuals at all in Egypt and that is all in addition to the societal discrimination, legal discrimination and social stigma that really inhibits homosexuals from organizing and trying to defend their rights in Egypt and it is you know all corroborated.

[23]     There are reports of arrests and harassments of homosexuals in this report, including intimidation and restrictions and basically self-censorship which all corroborates the claimant’s account of basically living as a recluse most of the time in Egypt.

[24]     So, I find that there is no state protection in this case given that the state is the agent of persecution and the objective basis for these fears that are on the record.

[25]     Turing to internal flight alternative, I find that the first prong is not met in this case. There is a serious possibility of persecution I find throughout Egypt. There is no evidence of any particular city such as for example Alexandria or Giza has any more tolerant attitudes towards homosexuals compared to Cairo and there is no evidence that the state is any more tolerant and persecutory against homosexuals in other parts of Egypt, (inaudible) to Cairo which actually the most metropolitan place in the entire country.

[26]     So, I find that internal flight alterative does not exist for the claimant.

[27]     Having considered all the evidence I find that the claimant has a well-founded fear of persecution against Egypt.

[28]     I find that he has established that he has an entitlement to be considered and determined to be a Convention Refugee. I therefore accept his claim for him to be a Convention Refugee based upon a particular social group as a homosexual gay man.

[29]     That is it; thank you very much.

———- REASONS CONCLUDED ———-

Categories
All Countries Egypt

2019 RLLR 101

Citation: 2019 RLLR 101
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: August 8, 2019
Panel: C. Ruthven
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Zainab Jamal
Country: Egypt
RPD Number: TB8-08556
Associated RPD Number(s): TB8-08567
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000130-000138


REASONS FOR DECISION

[1]       These reasons and decision are in regards to the claims for protection made by [XXX] (principal claimant), [XXX] (elder female claimant), [XXX] (younger female claimant), and [XXX] (minor claimant).

[2]       Each is claiming protection pursuant to section 96 and subsection 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.1 The panel heard the claims jointly, pursuant to Refugee Protection Division Rule 55.2

[3]       The principal claimant was the designated representative for the minor claimant.

ALLEGATIONS

[4]       The principal claimant’s full allegations are set out in his Basis of Claim Form, and related narrative.3 The two female claimants and the minor claimant each rely on the narrative of the principal claimant. All four claimants have practiced the Coptic Orthodox Christian faith from birth.

[5]       Each claimant fears the religious extremists in Egypt, based on a number of cumulative reasons, which relate to the practice of their faith. The principal claimant was anointed as a deacon in 2000. He has practiced his faith in Egypt, in the United Arab Emirates, and in Canada.

[6]       During his residence in Egypt, the principal claimant faced discrimination from those who discovered his Christian faith. He faced problems such as unfair academic treatment from the university authorities during his studies at [XXX], and later was the victim of threats from would-be customers and assaults at the hands of Muslim extremists in the medical and pharmaceutical industries.

[7]       All four claimants also faced long-term threats of violence associated with attending their Coptic Orthodox Christian church in Egypt. The principal claimant was assaulted on several occasions when he departed his church late at night, and the younger female claimant faced harassment in Egypt because she did not wear a traditional Muslim head covering. She was physically assaulted on many occasions, including one incident where her hair was cut with scissors on the subway.

[8]       Subsequent to a physical assault outside church on February 18, 2018, where the younger female claimant was pushed to the ground during her pregnancy, the claimants decided to depart Egypt permanently. On [XXX], 2018, the claimants departed Egypt, and made their claims for protection in Canada the following month.

DETERMINATION

[9]       The panel finds that the four claimants are Convention refugees, pursuant to section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, based on the persecution they face in Egypt due to the practice of their Coptic Orthodox Christian religion.

Identity

[10]     The panel finds that the four claimants have each established their identity as nationals of Egypt, based on a balance of probabilities. Each of the four claimants presented a valid Arab Republic of Egypt passport.4 The panel finds no reason to doubt the authenticity of any of these four documents.

Credibility

[11]     The panel finds that the principal claimant testified at the hearing in straightforward and consistent manner, without the use of embellishments.

[12]     The panel finds that there are both cumulative factors, and immediate factors, which caused the four claimants to depart Egypt on [XXX], 2018.5 The panel further finds that these factors all directly, or indirectly, relate to the practice of their Coptic Orthodox Christian faith.

[13]     The principal claimant testified coherently about his service to the Coptic Orthodox community in Egypt, including being an [XXX] in his village (talking about The Bible and bringing food and drink to poor families). The panel finds that this testimony was spontaneous, rich in personal details, and relevant to the corroboration of his faith.

[14]     In addition to the testimony provided regarding the Coptic Orthodox Christian faith of the four claimants, the claimants also presented a series of corroborating documents sourced to individuals and organizations in Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Canada.

Membership and Participation in the Coptic Orthodox Church

[15]     The claimants presented an August 9, 2017 letter of support from the [XXX] confirmed that the principal claimant served as [XXX] to the church in Zagazig. [XXX] confirmed that the elder female claimant also attended liturgy and spiritual meetings at the parish in Zagazig.6

[16]     Similarly, [XXX] confirmed that the younger female claimant attended [XXX] in Giza, prior to her relocation to the United Arab Emirates.7

[17]     In regards to parish attendance during their residence in the United Arab Emirates, the claimant presented an undated letter from [XXX] of the [XXX] in Sharjah.8

[18]     The panel gave each of four letters lesser probative value, as none of the respective authors specified a timeframe for the service of the three adult claimants to their respective parishes in Egypt or the United Arab Emirates. Despite this, the panel notes that some religious background was established.

[19]     The [XXX] Coptic Orthodox Church in Oakville, Ontario presented two undated letters of support signed by [XXX], which (read together) confirmed the participation of all four claimants at their parish for a period of seven months.9

[20]     In addition to the above-mentioned direct involvement with the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt, there were also several secondary documents presented which the panel finds corroborate a long-term practice of Christianity for the claimants and their family members in Egypt.

[21]     These documents include the presented Birth Certificate for the principal claimant and the younger female claimant,10 the Birth Certificate for the minor claimant,11 the Certificate of Baptism presented for all four claimants,12 the presented Confirmation of a Marriage Contract for the principal claimant and the younger female claimant,13 the Death Record for the elder female claimant’s spouse,14 and each Egypt Personal Identification Card (for the three adult claimants).15

[22]     The panel also notes the twenty-one presented photographs which depicted attendance at places of Christian worship for the claimants. Although not labelled or dated, the panel considered these photographs in conjunction with the principal claimant’s testimony, the presented letters of support, and the presented corroborating evidence related to the practice of the Coptic Orthodox faith by each of the four claimants.

[23]     Based on the testimony of the principal claimant, and in consideration of the corroborating evidence presented by the four claimants,16 the panel finds that all four claimants have established a subjective fear of returning to Egypt, based on the practice of their Coptic Orthodox Christian faith.

Objective Basis of the Claims

[24]     The panel finds that the overall objective evidence supports the four claims for Convention refugee protection.

[25]     The elder female claimant has only resided in Zagazig, Sharkia (when she was a resident of Egypt). This residential history included seven short periods between 2013 and 2018, in addition to the longer period of September 1990 to May 2013.17 Similarly, the principal claimant resided in Zagazig from September 1990 to May 2011, and then again from February 2018 to March 2018.18

[26]     The younger female claimant resided in El Doukki, Giza from May 1987 to June 2010.19 After she was married,20 she resided with the principal claimant and the elder female claimant in Zagazig from February 2018 to March 2018.21

[27]     The principal claimant has a maternal aunt who resides in Egypt.22 He testified that he keeps in communication with the wife of his brother, who resides in Zagazig. The younger adult female claimant only has her younger brother, as a family member in Egypt.23

Religious Profile of Egypt

[28]     Coptic Christians are a minority in Egypt but still constitute the largest single Christian community in the Middle East. The government estimates there are about five million Coptic Christians in Egypt, but the Coptic Orthodox Church estimates that there are between fifteen to eighteen million adherents in Egypt.24

[29]     Muslims and Christians live together in all parts of Egypt; however, there are larger concentrations of Christians in southern Egypt, especially in the governorates of Minia, Assiut, and Sohag, as well as in the big cities of Alexandria and Cairo. Christians are fewer in number in the Delta.25 There are suburbs in Cairo, other cities and some villages that are known to be Coptic Christian areas, but few are exclusively Coptic.26

Intimidation of Christians in Egypt

[30]     On August 30, 2016, Egypt’s parliament passed a new law on the construction and renovation of churches, which maintains restrictions and discriminates against the Christian minority.27 Coptic Christians in Egypt have suffered numerous cases of forced displacement, physical assaults, bomb and arson attacks, and blocking of church construction in recent years.28

[31]     The number and severity of violent incidents targeting Coptic Christians and their property has increased since 2015. This includes attacks by Daesh (alternatively known as Islamic State), which has stated its intent to target Christians and claimed responsibility for high profile bombings in Cairo, Alexandria, and Tanta in December 2016 and April 2017 resulting in scores of casualties.29

[32]     As such, the panel finds that the objective evidence supports the claims for Convention refugee protection for all four claimants.

State Protection

[33]     Successive Egyptian governments have failed to tackle a longstanding pattern of discrimination against Coptic Christians and rising incidences of sectarian violence, by bringing those responsible for sectarian crimes to justice. Instead of prosecuting those behind such violent attacks the Egyptian government of Abdel Fattah al Sisi has continued to rely on state-sponsored reconciliation agreements, which in some cases have involved forcibly evicting Coptic Christians from areas where they are under threat.30

[34]     The Christian minority in Egypt remains underrepresented in the military and security services. Christians who were admitted at the entry level were seldom promoted into the upper ranks of government entities. Coptic Orthodox religious leaders appealed to the government to change the culture of a nation poisoned by extremism.31

[35]     The Abdel Fattah al Sisi government has sought to improve law and order, and has taken several highly visible steps towards bettering state relations with the Coptic Christian community. Al Sisi has vowed to bring the perpetrators of anti-Christian attacks to justice and has promised to rebuild churches damaged in sectarian attacks during the Morsi era. Despite these promises, recent incidents of anti-Christian violence over the past three years have been prompted or preceded by anger among some local Muslims over actual or alleged church construction. Even when authorities have made arrests, they have rarely prosecuted.32

Additional State Protection Considerations for the Female Claimants

[36]     The younger female claimant highlighted two physical attacks against her in Egypt, including a subway attack, and a more-recent February 18, 2018 attack when she was pregnant.33 As members of the wider Coptic Christian community, Coptic Christian women face discrimination and in some cases violence, from which they are not adequately protected by security forces.34

[37]     The panel finds that the documentary evidence is both clear and convincing, and that it rebuts the presumption of adequate state protection for each of the four claimants in Egypt. As such, the panel finds it unreasonable to expect any of the four claimants to seek redress or protection from the police or any other authorities in Egypt.

[38]     The panel also finds that adequate state protection would not be forthcoming to any of the four claimants, in each of their particular set of circumstances.

Internal Flight Alternatives

[39]     As a result of the above-referenced country condition documentation from the National Documentation Package, the panel finds that a viable internal flight alternative does not exist for any of the four claimants in any place in Egypt.

[40]     As such, the panel finds that there are no places or regions in Egypt which could offer any of the four claimants safety from the reasonable chance of persecution, in each of their particular sets of circumstances, namely as Coptic Orthodox Christians who practice their faith in Egypt.

[41]     The panel finds that the four claimants each have a well-founded fear of persecution throughout Egypt, and that there is no viable internal flight alternative for any of them.

CONCLUSION

[42]     Having considered all of the evidence, the panel finds that there is a serious possibility that each of the four claimants faces persecution in Egypt, based on their religion as Coptic Orthodox Christians.

[43]     The panel therefore accepts all four claims under section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

(signed)           C. Ruthven

August 8, 2019

1 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27, as amended, sections 96 and 97(1).
2 Refugee Protection Division Rules, SOR/2012-256.
3 Exhibit 2.
4 Exhibit 1.
5 Exhibit 1, Exhibit 2, Exhibit 3, and Exhibit 4.
6 Exhibit 9.
7 Exhibit 9.
8 Exhibit 9.
9 Exhibit 9.
10 Exhibit 9.
11 Exhibit 10.
12 Exhibit 9 and Exhibit 10.
13 Exhibit 9.
14 Exhibit 10.
15 Exhibit 9.
16 Exhibit 8, Exhibit 9, and Exhibit 10.
17 Exhibit 1.
18 Exhibit 1.
19 Exhibit 1.
20 Exhibit 9.
21 Exhibit 1.
22 Exhibit 2 and Exhibit 4.
23 Exhibit 3.
24
25 Exhibit 6, NDP for Egypt (29 March 2019), item 5.7.
26 Exhibit 6, NDP for Egypt (29 March 2019), item 1.7.
27 Exhibit 6, NDP for Egypt (29 March 2019), item 12.8.
28 Exhibit 6, NDP for Egypt (29 March 2019), item 2.4.
29 Exhibit 6, NDP for Egypt (29 March 2019), item 1.7.
30 Exhibit 6, NDP for Egypt (29 March 2019), item 12.9.
31 Exhibit 6, NDP for Egypt (29 March 2019), item 12.1.
32 Exhibit 6, NDP for Egypt (29 March 2019), item 1.7.
33 Exhibit 3.
34 Exhibit 6, NDP for Egypt (29 March 2019), item 5.2.

Categories
All Countries Egypt

2019 RLLR 85

Citation: 2019 RLLR 85
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: March 1, 2019
Panel: Maria Vega
Counsel for the Claimant(s): John P. Howorun
Country: Egypt
RPD Number: TB7-16817
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000027-000031


[1]       PRESIDING MEMBER: This is the decision in the case of file number TB7-16817. This decision is with respect to the claim of Mr. [XXX]. He claims to be a citizen of Egypt and is claiming refugee protection pursuant to Sections 96 and Section 97.(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[2]       This decision is being rendered orally today and a written form of these reasons will be sent to your home at your address, sir, and they may also be edited for spelling, syntax, grammar as well as references to the applicable case law and legislation as well as exhibits.

[3]       I find that the claimant is a national of Egypt as is established by his testimony and by the supporting documentation filed; namely, his passport, a certified true copy of which is found in Exhibit 1, as well as his Egyptian identity card which was found in Exhibit 9.

[4]       From this evidence I conclude on a balance of probabilities that the claimant has Egyptian citizenship and that he is who he claims to be.

[5]       Mr. [XXX], I find that you are a Convention refugee for the following reasons.

[6]       In this case the nexus to the Convention definition is your imputed political opinion. You have come to the attention of the security authorities in Egypt, at first through your attaining what you believe to be an authentic building permit to build a barn on your property. Then you proceeded to build this and then when it was demolished and you complained about that you came facing the police and then were taken to the police station.

[7]       You also appear from your evidence to have come to the attention of the police authorities through your involvement in attending anti-government, political demonstrations in November 2016, as well as by posting on your Facebook page what were anti-government opinions as well as the fact that you had attended those demonstrations.

[8]       The allegations are found in your Basis of Claim Form and I will just summarize them, but I won’t provide every detail.

[9]       These demonstrations which you attended in November 2016 were against the government of Mr. El-Sisi giving two Egyptian islands to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and also they were against the rising inflation that was taking place in Egypt.

[10]     With respect to the building permit which you had obtained from what you believe to be a legitimate source, the office that issued the permits, you had paid your 4,000 Egyptian pounds and then you proceeded to build the barn in December of 2016.

[11]     Then shortly afterwards on the 7th of January 2017 the police went to your home with the equipment and commenced demolishing the barn.

[12]     Then when you protested you were subsequently taken the police station. You were there accused of assaulting police officers with weapons which you then denied, and then you were kept in solitary confinement for two months and warned to not speak out against the government again or you would be killed.

[13]     Your family who had gone looking for you at the police station where you were taken had been told by the authorities at that time that you were released the very first day, thus causing them to extreme fear thinking that you had disappeared as others had – as it had happened to others.

[14]     You also understood by the warning that you were given by the police that they were aware of your anti-government opinions and the posts that you had published on Facebook as you had not spoken out against the government in any way until that point except by writing on your Facebook page which was in your account, and by attending the two protests in November of 2016.

[15]     You were released from detention on the [XXX] 2017. Customers who had come to you in the past for painting jobs had ostracized you as did your friends who stopped contacting you.

[16]     And there was the belief that your detention by the police was for the illegal building of the barn, but you told people at your brother’s barbershop that it was not for that, but because you had spoken out against them for what they were doing to you.

[17]     Also upon learning from your cousin whose friend while working at the national security office in Garbaya (ph) you learned that there was a warrant for your arrest.

[18]     You immediately commenced making arrangements to leave the country and to obtain a temporary resident visa to Canada. You then travelled to Canada in [XXX] 2017 and subsequently make a protection claim in August 2017.

[19]     You have a wife and two children in Egypt and they are staying with her parents instead of at your home as you are aware that the police have gone to your home looking for you for about six times and they have even gone to look for you at your home while there’s no one there and this information was obtained by your wife and she informed you that she obtained it from the neighbours who saw them go there.

[20]     And you provided a picture of the broken door that the police caused recently in January and this photograph is Exhibit 10.

[21]     You fear returning to Egypt because you fear that the police will detain you, that you may disappear or you may possibly be killed by the police or you will be given a long sentence for something that you did not do which was you did not assault the police officers and not with weapons either.

[22]     The temporary resident visa that you obtained to Canada was obtained through the help of a person and to whom you paid $10,000 total and that they arranged that you would leave the country without any problems and so you did.

[23]     Regarding your credibility, Mr. [XXX], I found that your response were generally consistent with your Basis of Claim Form. I was concerned about the BOC omission whereby you omitted to mention that you had written your political opinions on Facebook or on social media.

[24]     You provided an explanation that you did not have any copies of these to give, given that you had someone, an expert on computers close your account or you believe they closed it permanently or deactivated it permanently so that there would be no risk to your wife and your sisters and your family in Egypt once you had left the country. Therefore, that is why you did not mention the Facebook account and your political opinions in social media to your counsel and then put that in your Basis of Claim Form.

[25]     I have considered your education level and the hearing evidence and find that this explanation under the circumstances of this case is reasonable and that you have had in this hearing opportunities to embellish your evidence by your testimony, but you did not take those opportunities. Therefore, I’ve concluded that I find you to be a credible witness and some of your response were very spontaneous.

[26]     Your evidence is consistent with the documentary material both in counsel’s package as well as in the National Documentation Package found at Exhibit 3 primarily with respect to the deteriorating human rights situation in Egypt.

[27]     Counsel’s package of Exhibit 5 speaks also about the – sorry, Exhibit 8 speaks about the corruption that has taken over Egypt primarily since the el-Sisi Government and the large bribes that are paid for people to build permit or get building permits where they should not be getting them and how this is a huge problem in Egypt at the present time.

[28]     In your case you believe that it was a legitimate and actual permit that you obtained whereby you continue – you proceeded to build your barn.  Whether it was or not that’s not – we won’t know, but the issue is that you are being charged by the police with something that you claim you did not do which was assaulting the police officers and anything that you have done with respect to protecting what you believe was your right to build that barn and complain to the police officers. They took that to be an example of a political opinion against them.

[29]     The situation in the documentary material clearly indicates that the human rights in Egypt are continuing to deteriorate.

[30]     There’s a report in Amnesty International with respect to 2017 that indicates that to be case. It speaks about the authorities arbitrarily restricting the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

[31]     It speaks there also about a crackdown plot by the government that was to include members of the Muslim Brotherhood as well as anyone that was perceived to be members of armed groups, but reliable human rights sources speak about how many people who were just sympathizers are often caught and unfairly treated in these group crackdowns.

[32]     In some cases detainees in political cases or anyone who has an opposing view to the government are often held in prolonged detention without charge or without trial.

[33]     The documentary material also speaks about unfair trials when these are held and anyone who has a view opposing the current government is held accountable for that view and will be detained.

[34]     Many human rights groups throughout the world believe that the Egyptian authorities have misused many of their powers against their own citizens and that the Egyptian authorities troll through social media to see who has said anything opposing the government and that is whereby you think that they may have read your Facebook posts and they may have.

[35]     I believe that for these reasons, Mr. [XXX], you cannot ask the Government of Egypt for protection because they are the source of persecution to you.

[36]     You also cannot go elsewhere in the country to live safely without hiding because you would face the same possibility or serious grounds of persecution given what is your imputed political opinion and that means that it’s the opinion of the authorities believe you have. It doesn’t really matter whether you actually have it, but the authorities in Egypt believe that you are against the government because of what you have said and maybe because of what you have written.

[37]     So for all of these reasons I find that you, [XXX], are a Convention refugee and I therefore accept your claim.

[38]     This hearing is now concluded. Thanks, Madam Interpreter, for all your assistance. Good day, Counsel.

[39]     COUNSEL: Thank you.

[40]     PRESIDING MEMBER: Good day to you, sir. All the best to everyone and we’re concluding now.

—- REASONS CONCLUDED —–