Citation: 2020 RLLR 42
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: March 10, 2020
Panel: R. Moutafova
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Mohammad Khan Khokhar
RPD Number: TB9-07818
ATIP Number: A-2021-00655
ATIP Pages: 000085-000092
REASONS FOR DECISION
 This is the decision of the Refugee Protection Division (the panel) in the claim for refugee protection of [XXX] (the claimant), citizen of India. She claims refugee protection in Canada pursuant to section 96 and subsection 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (the IRPA).1
 The Chairperson’s Guideline 4- Women Refugee Claimants Fearing Gender-Related Persecution was considered and applied to the hearing and determination of this claim.2
 The claimant’s detailed allegations are contained in her Basis of Claim form (BOC)3 and in her testimony. In summary, the claimant is unmarried [XXX] single woman, who graduated from the [XXX] with a [XXX] and found work in the [XXX] field. She fears serious harm or death in India at the hands of her former managers, who sexually assaulted her and blackmailed her. The claimant also fears serious hmm or death in India at the hands of a high-ranking police officer who colluded with her former managers and participated in the abuse and the blackmailing.
 Having considered ail of the evidence, including the claimant’s testimony, the panel finds that the claimant faces a serious possibility of persecution in India on the basis of her membership in the particular social group of Indian women facing gender-based violence. The panel therefore finds that the claimant is a Convention refugee pursuant to section 96 of the IRPA and accepts her claim.
 The panel is satisfied that the claimant’s identity has been established, on a balance of probabilities, by a certified copy of her Indian passport filed into evidence4.
 The panel finds that for the claimant, there is a nexus with one of the five Convention grounds, i.e. her membership in the particular social group of women fearing gender-related persecution.
 Testimony provided under oath is presumed to be truthful unless there is a reason for doubting its truthfulness. In this case, the panel has no such reason. The panel finds the claimant to be a credible witness and believes, on a balance of probabilities, the key allegations of her claim. The testimony of the claimant was spontaneous, emotional, detailed, and sincere. The panel did not find that she tried to embellish or exaggerate her allegations during her testimony. There were no significant inconsistencies or omissions with regard to the main allegations. Her testimony was consistent with the allegations in her BOC, and also included additional details that allowed the panel to more fully understand her claim.
 Since this claim involves gender related violence, the panel considered the Chairperson’s Guidelines on Women Refugee Claimants Fearing Gender-Related Persecution.5 The Chairperson’s Guideline assists in assessing the key evidentiary elements in determining to what extent women making a gender-related claim of fear of persecution may successfully rely on any Convention ground and under what circumstances gender violence constitutes persecution. The Chairperson’s Guideline also highlights that women refugee claimants may face special problems in demonstrating that their claims are credible and trustworthy. Factors that may affect their ability to provide evidence include difficulty in providing testimony on sensitive matters, cross cultural misunderstandings as well as social, religious, and economic differences. The Chairperson’s Guideline was used to help assess the circumstances of this claim and to understand and apply the added sensitivities necessary to properly assess the evidence.
 The claimant is unmarried [XXX] single woman, who graduated from the [XXX] and found work in the [XXX] field. She was promoted soon to [XXX]. In [XXX] 2016 a new manager substituted her previous lady- manager. Soon the physical and psychological mistreatment of the claimant started at the hands of this manager, who proposed to the claimant to become his personal assistant as a manner of promotion. She refused and then the sexual harassment began. Details of the mistreatment are detailed in the BOC form. The claimant tried to complain to HR department, but was made to understand that a dismissal will follow, should she proceed formally with the complaint.
 The claimant decided to put the harassment to an end by leaving her job and she filed a notice of resignation.6 Her manager threatened her, that she would not find job in the [XXX] industry again. Nevertheless, she proceeded with her resignation and the employment contract was terminated upon the expiry of the notice, in [XXX] 2016.
 Indeed, the claimant was not able to find a job [XXX] for a while and, thus, decided to change the industry of occupation. She found a job in another town, where she lived with her parents, as a [XXX]. The professional relationships in the new workplace were very good to the moment when her old manager appeared in the office, and talked to her current manager in [XXX] 2018. Then the claimant was subjected to horrible mistreatment and molestation by her manager and a man in police uniform and, who was introduced as a Senior Superintendent of the Police Department. She was threatened with kidnapping of family members and troubles for her family should she attempt to complain to the police. The claimant was repeatedly intimidated by her manager, who would come to the claimant’s parents’ house looking for the claimant and threatening to ruin her family and more particularly – her dignity by posting the video-material on-line.
 The claimant felt she had no choice and resumed work in the office. The molestation and the sexual harassment continued on a regular basis. The claimant was devastated. Her mistreatment was turning into horrible sexual abuse, which led to profound [XXX].
 The claimant arranged for the continuation of her study in Canada and arrived in [XXX] 2018 and filed this asylum claim.
 The claimant outlined in her BOC that throughout her employment several men severely abused her, molested her and finally, learning about her plan to leave India and obtained student visa to Canada, abducted her and subjected her to a most horrible sexual violence, committed by several men. She provided credible testimony about her fears in India and the events that occurred in India that precipitated her departure. She testified about her employment experience and provided the expected details about it. She explained how, in early [XXX] 2017, she left her job, understanding that this is the only way to resolve the problem with the sexual harassment at work. She explained how she arrived to the decision to change the industries and the cities of employment. She explained that following the molestation at the new workplace, she unsuccessfully attempted to file a complaint in the police. She also described in detail how, in [XXX] 2018, she was intimidated by her manager, who came to her residence, insisting that she comes back and continue to work in the office, threatening to destroy her family and her reputation.
 The claimant’s allegations are supported by corroborating evidence, including her employment history, which was consistent with her allegations.
 In the claimant’s case, there were no relevant contradictions, inconsistencies, or omissions between her BOC, her testimony at the hearing, and the documentary evidence on file, that were not reasonably explained.
 The claimant’s allegations are supplied by the objective documentary evidence on file. The National Documentation Package for India indicates that violence against women, including sexual violence, has increased in India,7 and also points out the inadequacy of state protection, as discussed below. The documentary evidence also is replete with references to abuses of authority and corruption within the justice system, including within the police, and the growing demand for police account ability.8
 The panel therefore finds that the claimant has established, on a balance of probabilities, that she suffered physical and sexual assault by her two managers, who initiated and organised violent and brutal sexual violence and harassment, involving a high-ranking police officer and unknown men, and that the police refused to perform their duties and to protect the claimant, when she attempted to file a First Information Reports (FIR) and to get police protection, but this was not successful.
 The panel finds that the claimant has rebutted the presumption of state protection, with clear and convincing evidence that the Indian state would be unable or unwilling to provide her with adequate protection.
 The documentary evidence indicates that in April of 2013, the President of India approved the Criminal Law (Amendment), which criminalizes several forms of violence against women and enlarged the definition of rape.9 However, the law has been criticized for not going far enough in certain aspects. According to the same source, the legislation “does not remove the effective legal immunity that security forces accused of sexual violence enjoy under special laws like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.”10 In addition, the documentary evidence points to inadequacy and inconsistency of police response to sexual assault across India, and the widespread need for the training of police officers in this regard.11
 ln this case a high-ranking police officer was among the claimant’s agents of persecution. The panel has found credible the claimant’s allegations of sexual assault at the hands of her ex managers and their friends. The panel has also found credible her allegations with respect to the unsuccessful attempt to complain to the police in Chandigarh and about the threats she received. Moreover, as indicated above, the documentary evidence is replete with references to police abuse and impunity throughout India.
 Given the evidence, the panel finds, on a balance of probabilities, that adequate protection would not be provided to the claimant in India.
Internal Flight Alternative
 At the hearing, the panel asked the claimant whether she could relocate safely and reasonably to a large Indian metropolis, such as Mumbai or Kolkata.
 The test to apply to assess whether there is an Internal Flight Alternative (IFA) has two prongs. The first is to determine whether there is, in the proposed IFA, a serious possibility of persecution under section 96 of the IRPA or if there is a risk, on a balance of probabilities, that the claimant would be subjected to one of the harms set out in subsection 97(1) of the IRPA. The second prong involves determining whether it would be objectively unreasonable to expect the claimant to seek refuge there, taking into account the circumstances specific to her.
 The claimant testified that she would not be able to relocate, arguing that she fears that her manager will find her given that he has ties with the police which would enable him to find her. This already happened once when the claimant, hoping to put the assault to an end, resigned from her job, changed her location, going to another town, and even changed the industry of employment, but, nevertheless, she was found by her former manager.
 The panel finds that the claimant has demonstrated that the alleged agents of persecution – the claimant’s managers and the colluding high-ranking police officer, have the means and the motivation to find and harm the claimant anywhere in India.
 Accordingly, since the possibility of an IFA fails on the first prong, the panel will not proceed to the second prong of the IFA analysis. Thus, the panel concludes that an IFA is not a reasonable option in the claimant’s particular case.
 After assessing all of the evidence, the panel concludes that if the claimant returned to India, she would face a serious possibility of persecution under section 96 of the IRPA, as a result of her membership in the particular social group of women fearing gender-related persecution. Thus, the panel finds that the claimant, [XXX], is a Convention refugee. Accordingly, the panel accepts her claim.
(signed) R. Moutafova
March 10, 2020
1 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c, 27, as amended.
2 Chairperson Guidelines 4: Women Refugee Claimants Fearing Gender-Related Persecution. Effective date: November 13, 1996. Guidelines issued by the Chairperson pursuant to section 65(3) of the Immigration Act.
3 Document 2 – Basis of Claim form (BOC).
4 Exhibit # 1 – Package of Information from the referring Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) / Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC); Certified true copy of the claimant’s passport.
5 Chairperson Guidelines 4: Women Refugee Claimants Fearing Gender-Related Persecution. Effective date: November 13, 1996. Guidelines issued by the Chairperson pursuant to section 65(3) of the Immigration Act.
6 Exhibit# 6 – Notice of resignation.
7 Exhibit # 3 – National Documentation Package on India, 31 May 2019; Item 5.2: IND105130.E, 15 May 2015; Violence against women, including domestic violence, homelessness, workplace violence; information on legislation, state protection, services, and legal recourse available to women who are victims of violence (2013-April 2015).
8 Idem; Item 7.8: IDFC Institute, 20 April 2017, Safety ])-end,· and Reporting a/Crime; Item 9.6: Amnesty International, 2017, Justice Under Trial: A Study of Pre-Trial Detention in India; Idem; Item 9.7: IND105781.E, 5 May 2017; Independence of and coJTuption within the judicial system, including the scale of corruption at different levels (2015-May 2017);Item 10.5: Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, December 2012, Police Complaints Authorities in India: A Rapid Study.
11 Idem, Item 5.3: BharatiyaStree Shakti, March 2017, Tackling Violence Against Women: A Study, if State Intervention Measures.