Categories
All Countries Jordan

2019 RLLR 98

Citation: 2019 RLLR 98
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: September 19, 2019
Panel: F. Mortazavi
Counsel for the claimant(s): Sherif Ashamalla
Country: Jordan
RPD Number: TB8-06771
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000107-000113


REASONS FOR DECISION

[1]       [XXX], the claimant, a male Muslim, is a citizen of Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (Jornan). He is claiming refugee protection under sections 96 and 97 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).1

ALLEGATIONS

[2]       The claimant’s allegations are detailed in his narrative of his Basis of Claim Form (BOC), signed on March 14, 2018.2

[3]       In summary, his evidence indicates that he had an out-of-wedlock relationship with a Christian woman named [XXX], whom he met her in 2016. In support of [XXX] existence, he submitted two photographs,3 and testified under oath that the woman depicted in the two photographs is [XXX].

[4]       In January 2017, the claimant told his parents that he intended to marry a Christian woman, with whom he had a sexual relationship with. His parents disapproved. The claimant alleged that in early February 2017, he was threatened and humiliated by one of [XXX] male relatives while he was walking on the street and holding hands with [XXX]. She left him, and walked away. He alleged that he has not seen her since, and he was later blocked from her Facebook account.

[5]       He alleged that while he was walking home on February 13, 2017, he was hit by a car. He lost consciousness, and was taken to the hospital by a bystander. He was hospitalized for three days. In support of this allegation, the claimant submitted a copy of the complaint form he had filed with the police, dated February 13, 2017, against an unknown driver.4 He also submitted a copy of a medical report, dated February 16, 2017.5

[6]       The claimant alleged that during the incident he lost his phone and belongings. The claimant speculated and alleged that this incident was orchestrated by [XXX] family, in attempt to kill him. He further states that neither [XXX] nor any of his family members visited him while he was in the hospital.

[7]       The claimant alleged that he has not heard from [XXX] since he was blocked from her Facebook. However, the claimant’s friend, [XXX], in the United States (US), did speak to her once via Facebook Messenger, in order to encourage [XXX] to go to the US with the claimant. Subsequently, [XXX] Facebook account was closed, and [XXX] was blocked. Thus, [XXX] and the claimant have not been able to contact her via social media since April 2017.6

[8]       The claimant alleged that his four brothers and uncles have disowned him officially because of the hateful relationship between the claimant’s tribe and [XXX] tribe.7

[9]       The claimant testified that he fears [XXX] family, that they would try to kill him because he has dishonored them. He explained that he no longer has protection of his own family and tribe, and that the police will not protect him because it is a family honor issue. He fears being a victim of honor killing if he were to return to Jordan.

DETERMINATION

[10]     The panel finds that the claimant is a person in need of protection pursuant to section 97(1) of the IRPA for the following reasons.

ANALYSIS

Identity

[11]     The panel finds that the claimant, on a balance of probabilities, is a citizen of Jordan, and has established his personal identity based on the copy of his original passports.8

Credibility

[12]     Notwithstanding the issue of delay in claiming asylum in Canada, and the credibility assessment of the car incident, given that the culprits were unknown and the claimant merely speculates that [XXX] family had planned it, the panel gives the benefit of the doubt to the claimant’s evidence with respect to having a relationship with [XXX], and accepts that, on a balance of probabilities, the basis of his subjective fear is true.

Objective evidence

[13]     Having considered the totality of the evidence and counsel’s submissions, the panel finds that there is sufficient credible or trustworthy objective evidence before it to support the claimant’s subjective fear.

[14]     The documentary evidence indicates that honor killing persist in Jordan. However, while it refers to women being target of honor killing, it makes no such reference to men. In fact, “[a]ccording to estimates, there are an average of 20-25 so-called honour killings reported every year in Jordan.”9

[15]     According to US Department of State report:

There were no reported instances of forced marriage as an alternative to a potential honor killing during the year, although NGOs noted that many cases of forced marriage occurred shortly after an accusation of rape due to family and societal pressure before any formal trial began. Observers noted that if a woman marries her rapist, according to customary belief, her family members do not need to kill her to “preserve the family’s honor,” a belief that persisted despite the 2017 amendment to the legal code.10

[16]     The review of the documentary evidence indicates that the main victims of honor killings are women, and their family members are also at risk of honor killings. Regarding family members, and disputes between tribes, the claimant submitted a news article, dated May 21, 2018. It notes that, “a group of members of the Shawabkeh tribe, led by a former Royal Guard officer, and seven others, including retired members of the security services, brutally assault[ed] a young Al-Fayez family.”11

[17]     The documentary evidence indicates:

In the past, Article 98 of the Penal Code was applied to reduce penalties for men who perpetrated violent crimes against women, such as murder or assault, after the woman had committed a dishonourable act. Article 98 was amended in 2017 to prevent it from being used to reduce penalties for so-called ‘honour’ crimes against women.12

[18]     A recent Human Rights Watch report indicates that, “[a]ccording to press reports, about 20 women are killed in Jordan each year by male family members in so-called “family honor” crimes.”13

[19]     The panel finds that in the circumstances of this case, on the balance of probabilities, the claimant could be a target of honor killing if he were to return to Jordan.

Protection

[20]     Refugee protection is meant to be a form of surrogate protection to be invoked only in those situations where the refugee claimant has unsuccessfully sought the protection of their home state. The onus is on the refugee claimant to approach the state for protection, in situations where state protection might be reasonably forthcoming.14 In the absence of a compelling explanation, a failure to pursue state protection opportunities within the home state will usually be fatal to a refugee claim, at least, where the state is a functioning democracy with a willingness and the apparatus necessary to provide a measure of protection to its citizens.

[21]     In the case at hand, the state is not the agent of persecution. The claimant fears [XXX] tribe. However, the panel needs to determine whether the state would be willing to offer the claimant protection, if he were to seek state protection.

[22]     The panel notes that the US Department of State report indicates that:

… Jordan is a constitutional monarchy … The constitution concentrates executive and legislative authority in the king…  Elections for the Chamber of Deputies occur approximately every four years and last took place in 2016. International observers deemed the elections organized, inclusive, credible, and technically well run.

Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the security forces.15

[23]     The documentary evidence filed establishes that the police rarely investigate honour killings on their own initiative:

… it is clear that there is a strong connection between tribalism and the protection of women’s rights once cases reach court. One focus group member described this relationship, saying “even at court there are tribal dynamics at play, so it’s not as if it’s two separate systems … they are totally intertwined.”

The state law in Jordan reflects what many believe to be tribal principles in how it deals with men who kill their female relatives they suspect of not being chaste. The bias towards the perpetrators of this crime is evident early in the process. [Human Rights Watch] claims that in Jordan the police rarely investigate so-called honour killings and “typically treat the killers as vindicated men.” Or when the police do conduct an investigation, they routinely conduct faulty investigations that fail to produce enough evidence for conviction.

Tribal processes seem to be primarily used today in Jordan for violations against life, limb and honour. The first of these are referred to as ‘blood crimes’ and criminal responses to violations of the first are known as ‘honour crimes’. A mentioned, tribal principles and processes of dispute resolution are used in Jordan not just by those living nomadically but also by many people of all socioeconomic backgrounds with tribal affiliations living in villages or cities like Amman.16

[24]     The claimant must establish, through clear and convincing evidence, that the state would be unwilling or unable to provide adequate protection if he were to return to his home country, Jordan. In view of the objective evidence noted above, in the circumstances of this case, the panel finds the claimant has rebutted the presumption of state protection.

Internal flight alternative

[25]     Jordan is a small tribal country. Moreover, the documentary evidence indicates that attitudes towards honour are the same throughout the country.

[26]     In the circumstances of this case, there is no viable internal flight alternative available to the claimant in Jordan.

CONCLUSION

[27]     The panel finds, [XXX], is a person in need of protection pursuant to section 97(1) of the IRPA, as he faces a particularized risk of harm. On a balance of probabilities, his removal to Jorden may subject him to a risk to life, to a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment, or to a danger of torture.

[28]     The panel therefore accepts his claim.

(signed)           F. Mortazavi

September 19, 2019

1 The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c.27, as amended, sections 96 and 97(1).
2 Exhibit 2, Basis of Claim Form (BOC).
3 Exhibit 6, Photographs.
4 Exhibit 4, Personal Disclosure received August 30, 2019, at pp. 4-5.
5 Ibid., at pp. 6-7.
6 Ibid., at p. 10.
7 Ibid., at p. 8.
8 Exhibit 1, Package of Information from the Referring CBSA/CIC, Certified True Copy of Passport.
9 Ibid item 5.10.
10 Exhibit 3, National Documentation Package (NDP) for Jordan (August 30, 2019), item 2.1.
11 Exhibit 5, Country Disclosure, at p. 2.
12 Exhibit 3, NDP for Jordan (August 30, 2019), item 5.6.
13 Ibid., item 5.2.
14 Canada (Attorney General) v. Ward, [1993] 2 S.C.R. 689, 103 D.L.R. (4th) 1, 20 Imm. L.R. (2d) 85.
15 Exhibit 3, NDP for Jordan (August 30, 2019), item 2.1.
16 Ibid., item 5.10.

Categories
All Countries Jordan

2019 RLLR 88

Citation: 2019 RLLR 88
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: September 9, 2019
Panel: Khamissa Khamsi
Counsel for the claimant(s): Tiffani Frederick
Country: Jordan
RPD Number: TB7-23982
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000040-000042


DECISION

[1]       MEMBER: So [XXX] you claim to be a citizen of Jordan and you are claiming refugee protection pursuant to Section 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). So, I find that you are a Convention refugee and I accept your claim. I’m now going to explain to you the reason why I am accepting your claim. Congratulations first.

[2]       CLAIMANT: Thank you.

[3]       MEMBER: Given the issues that you have presented in your claim, I have considered the Chairperson’s Guidelines on the women refugee claimants fearing gender related persecution. The details of your claim, sorry are to be found in your Basis of Claim form but in short, you fear abuse at the hands of your ex­ husband’s relatives. And all also, at the hands of your relatives. To be more specific you divorced your first husband because of physical abuse and you forfeited the right of custody of your children. And after your husband, your first husband passed away, you refused to marry his younger brother. You married a second time and it also ended in a divorce here in Canada after you were physically abused. Therefore, you are also afraid that your parents would pressure you to go back to your first husband.

[4]       Now with regard to the identified issue.

IDENTITY

[5]       I find that your identity as a national of Jordan has been established by your testimony and by the supporting documents filed, including a Jordanian passport bearing a Canadian visa.

[6]       With regards to credibility, I find you to be a very credible witness and I believe what you have alleged in your claim. You have explained your personal situation as well as the cultural norms in Jordan which have affected your situation. You have testified in a straight forward manner and I didn’t see any inconsistencies between your oral and written testimony. You have provided some supporting documents to corroborate your allegations in particular, your first husbands death certificate and your divorce certificate, as well as court and police documents, with regards to the abuse that happened here in Canada.

[7]       I find that you have a nexus to the convention definition as a woman fearing gender related persecution. In so far as you sustained physical and mental abuse at the hands of your first husband and your family member, due to membership in a particular social group as a victim of family violence. I find that your fear of persecution is both subjectively and objectively well-founded. I have looked at the information contained in the documentation package on the situation faced by women, such as yourself, in Jordan. As well as in the country conditions document package provided by your council.

[8]       I note that problems of domestic and family violence are the most outgoing human rights problems in Jordan. And all the reports, injury report, the most recent ones continue to note that violence against women and honour crimes continue to occur despite the government’s efforts to put an end to such acts. As I indicated previously, I believe that you have testified. I believe what you have about your experiences in Jordan and I believe that your first husband’s relatives may still harm you.

[9]       I also looked at state protection and I asked you questions in this regard. And the information that I have on the availability of protection for women such as yourself and the evidence is quite clear that adequate state protection at an operational level does not exist for you in Jordan from the harm that you fear.

[10]     The reports are consistent with your experience as you described it. And you testified that the state would not be able to protect you because your husband is from a very important tribe in Jordan. I also note that even in the most recent report, for example, for Amnesty International, they report that women remain subject to discrimination in law and in practice. And they are inadequately protected from sexual and other violence, including so called honour crimes.

[11]     I also looked at internal flight alternatives and I find that internal flight alternative does not, not exist for you in Jordan. And the evidence before me states that there is no area where a single woman can attempt to live outside the family home.

[12]     In conclusion, I find that you’re a Convention refugee and I accept your claim.

[13]     Congratulations.

[14]     COUNSEL: Great. Thank you, Madame Member. Thank you so much.

[15]     MEMBER: Your welcome. Madame Interpreter, thank you for a great interpretation as usual.

———- REASONS CONCLUDED ———-