Citation: 2020 RLLR 131
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: September 29, 2020
Panel: S. Seevaratnam
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Jared Will
RPD Number: TB9-08058
Associated RPD Number(s):
ATIP Number: A-2021-01106
ATIP Pages: 000093-000102
REASONS FOR DECISION
 The claimant, [XXX], claims to be a citizen of Mexico and is claiming protection pursuant to sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).
 The claimant alleges she fears returning to Mexico due to her imputed and real political opinion and her membership in a particular social group, a woman.
 The panel has also carefully considered the Chairperson’s Guideline 4: Women Refugee Claimants Fearing Gender-Related Persecution, prior to assessing the merits of this claim.
 The details of the allegations are outlined in the claimant’s Basis of Claim (BOC) Form and the amended Narrative. A synopsis of the allegations are as follows.
 The claimant testified that she grew up in a family which supported the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and she was introduced to the party by family friends around 2012. She officially joined the party in 2016. She further testified that the party was actively recruiting young people in order to expand its support base. They were expected to follow the political line of [XXX], the former Governor of Hidalgo from 2005 – 2011.
 Through her sister, [XXX], and brother-in-law, [XXX] she was introduced to high level politicians both at the Federal and State levels. She gradually became a trusted member of the PRI inner circle.
 The claimant was in a romantic relationship with [XXX], the brother of [XXX], from 2013 until 2016. The claimant testified that the [XXX] brothers were wealthy, influential, and powerful.
 The claimant explained that during and following their intimate relationship, she discovered “many unsavoury things about [XXX]. He is a very corrupt person and made his money largely by diverting public fonds he owns and controls a number of newspapers but hides his interest in the papers, as he does in other businesses that he controls. He uses other peoples’ identities and operates shell businesses that he controls.” The claimant detailed numerous other instances of corruption and extravagant spending diverting federal public fonds.
 From [XXX] to [XXX] 2016, the claimant worked on the social media team for [XXX] the PRI candidate in Hidalgo. The claimant explained that she knew [XXX] socially through events at her sister’s home. She further explained that [XXX] was a close friend of her brother-in-law and he played a significant role at their wedding. Thus, when [XXX] was elected the [XXX] of Hidalgo in [XXX] 2016, she was disappointed that she was not rewarded with a job in the state government. She was instructed to pursue employment opportunities with his private secretary, [XXX]. He pressured the claimant to engage in an intimate relationship which she refused. The claimant knew as a member of the inner trusted circle within the PRI that [XXX] and [XXX] had been lovers. She explained that this was not common public knowledge and his sexual orientation (bisexual) could ruin his political career.
 In 2017, the claimant became a victim of sexual harassment, theft, and stalking. She retained a lawyer and lodged a complaint with the office of the Attorney General, City of Hidalgo. After about a year, she was advised by her lawyer to drop the charges since she was being pursued by state and federal government officials. She suspected [XXX] or [XXX] as the perpetrators. Fearing for her life, the claimant fled to Canada and initiated a refugee claim.
 The panel finds the claimant to be a Convention refugee. The panel’s reasons are as follows.
 In Exhibit 1, the claimant has submitted a copy of her passport issued by the United Mexican States, which was certified as a true copy by an immigration officer on [XXX] 2019.
 In Exhibit 7, the claimant has submitted a copy of her birth certificate, her membership card with the PRI, and her record of employment with the government of Mexico.
 The panel finds the claimant to be a national of Mexico. The panel further finds that the claimant was an active member of PRI and was employed with the government of Mexico.
 The panel is cognizant of the leading jurisprudence on the issue of credibility. Maldonado stands for the principle that when a claimant swears to the truth of certain allegations, this creates a presumption that those allegations are true unless there is reason to doubt their truthfulness.
 The claimant provided clear and detailed testimony regarding her experiences in Mexico and her involvement with the PRI and its inner circle. Her testimony was consistent with her Basis of Claim (BOC) Form, her amended BOC narrative, her personal documents, as well as country condition documents provided by counsel, and the National Documentation Package (NDP).
 Having considered the totality of the evidence, the panel finds the claimant to be a credible and trustworthy witness. Accordingly, the claimant has established her subjective fear.
WELL-FOUNDED FEAR OF PERSECUTION
 Commencing in early [XXX] 2017, the claimant became a victim of an attempted armed robbery; her cell phone was stolen, and she became the subject of a scandal on Facebook where altered nude photos were posted.
 The claimant reached out to her mother for assistance who contacted a lawyer, [XXX]. He made arrangement for the claimant to make a report on [XXX] 2017 with the Attorney General’s Office (PGR, Procuraduria General de la Republica), State of Hidalgo.
 Subsequent to filing the report, the claimant received harassing telephone texts from one of the police officers who was present at the PGR when she initiated her complaint. She stated that she also received “many obscene messages on my cell phone as well as on social media.”
 The claimant feared for her safety and asked [XXX] if he could provide a bodyguard to protect her but he said it was unnecessary.
 In [XXX] 2018, the claimant was followed by a black SUV. The claimant accelerated her vehicle and entered her gated neighbourhood where she resided. She promptly contacted her lawyer, [XXX], to report the incident and obtain an update on the PGR investigation.
 Her lawyer asked the claimant to attend at his office and informed her that senior government officials at both the federal and state levels were instrumental in harassing, defaming, and threatening her. He advised the claimant not to pursue her complaint with the PGR any further. Her lawyer reimbursed all legal fees she had paid to his law firm.
 The claimant suspects that the assailants are retained and their actions are orchestrated by either by [XXX] or [XXX] who are attempting to muzzle her from revealing information she is privy to such as the embezzlement of public federal funds by [XXX] for personal gain and advancement, the sexual orientation of [XXX] (bisexual), his drug use, and his relentless sexual advances towards the claimant, and his belief in “santeria”(witchcraft). The claimant believes that both men are capable of violence and will be vindictive towards her if they suspect the claimant of divulging incriminating information. She explained that they want to maintain their political career and public image since they are both very ambitious and continue to maintain their reign within the PRI apparatus and advance further within the government of Mexico.
 A media report indicates that [XXX] is one of the candidates for mayor of Pachuca in the 2020 elections. The article states that he is the brother of [XXX], the [XXX] of the [XXX] and [XXX].
 The media report dated [XXX] 2019 indicates that [XXX] the right hand man to the [XXX] of Hidalgo, [XXX], is “situated as the likely successor of the [XXX] for the state office” since he has “marketed himself throughout the entire state.” He is poised to run for [XXX] in 2022.
 The panel has carefully reviewed objective, reliable, and current documentary evidence to assess the objective basis for this claim. Both counsel’s country conditions package on Mexico as well as the NDP indicates that the Mexican political arena is seeped in corruption, impunity, and sexism.
 The US Department of State (DOS) Mexico Country Report on Human Rights 2019 states as follows:
There were several reports government entities or their agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings, often with impunity. Organized criminal groups were implicated in numerous killings, acting with impunity and at times in league with corrupt federal, state, local, and security officials.
 An article titled, “Mexican women in politics: no glittering careers and no power”, states as follows:
Mexican women are also barred from politics through pressure that can include political violence (causing damage to their public image), double workloads that prevent them from achieving a work-life balance and even sexual harassment.
 An article dated September 2019, indicates that “rampant impunity continues to plague Mexico according to a study that shows there has been negligible improvements in prosecution rates over the past year.”
 International Human Rights Program and Pen Canada for freedom of expression has authored an article titled, “Corruption, Impunity, Silence: The War on Mexico’s Journalists.” The article attributes impunity to the failure by the Mexican authorities to “successfully prosecute over 90 percent of the cases brought before them.”
 An article titled, “Unprecedented wave of political violence rocks Mexico”, indicates the following:
In less than 24 hours this month, three women running for office in Mexico were murdered bringing the total number of female candidates assassinated to 17.”
According to Senator Martha Tagle, “these facts revel a serious situation that women in politics are experiencing, and that it is political violence based on gender.”
 The above article sheds light on the role gender violence plays in elections and the specific ways in which women are silenced.
 The panel finds the claimant has established a serious risk of persecution based on her imputed and real political opinion, and her membership in a particular social group, a woman.
 There is a presumption that except in situations where the state is in complete breakdown, the state is capable of protecting its citizens. To rebut the presumption of state protection, a claimant must provide clear and convincing evidence of the state’s inability to protect its citizens.
 The claimant testified that she was defamed, but the police failed to investigate and prosecute the matter since they are in collusion with politicians. She stated that both entities are corrupt.
 The US Department of State (DOS) Mexico Country Report on Human Rights 2019 states as follows:
Significant human rights issues included reports of the involvement by police, military, and other government officials and illegal armed groups in unlawful or arbitrary killings, forced disappearance, and torture; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions in some prisons; impunity for violence against human rights defenders and journalists; violence targeting persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex persons.
Impunity for human rights abuses remained a problem, with extremely low rates of prosecution for all crimes. The government’s federal statistics agency (INEGI) estimated 94 percent of crimes were either unreported or not investigated.
 An Article titled, “Corruption at a Level of Audacity Never Seen in Mexico” details a scenario similar that of the claimant. It states as follows:
Empowered citizens, transparency laws and a freer media are now exposing the schemes that governors have used to siphon public fonds for their private use. But though the scrutiny has produced mounting evidence of misdeeds, the governors have rarely faced justice.
Governors who like Presidents serve one six-year term, control state legislatures, state auditors and state prosecutors – a dominance that gives them the poser of a modern potentate.
That leaves it to federal prosecutors to pursue wrong-doing but the response has been tepid.
During the more than 70 years that the party (PRI) governed Mexico without interruption, it became synonymous with corruption.
 The panel finds that the claimant fears persecution or serious harm at the hands of the state and federal high ranking and influential politicians; therefore, based on objective and current documentary evidence, and her sworn viva voce evidence, she cannot avail herself of the protection of the authorities. The security forces have failed to protect the claimant.
INTERNAL FLIGHT ALTERNATIVE (IFA)
 The Federal Court of Appeal established a two-part test for assessing an IFA in
Rasaratnam and Thirunavukkarasu:
(1) As per Rasaratnam, “the Board must be satisfied on a balance of probabilities that there is no serious possibility of the claimant being persecuted in the part of the country to which it finds an IFA exists” and/or the claimant would not be personally subject to a risk to life or risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment or danger, believed on substantial grounds to exist, of torture in the IFA.
(2) Moreover, the conditions in the part of the country considered to be an IFA must be such that it would not be unreasonable in all the circumstances including those particular to the claim, for him to seek refuge there.
 The claimant bears the burden of proof to demonstrate that she would be persecuted on a Convention ground, or subject personally, on a balance of probabilities, to a risk to life, or a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment in all of Mexico.
 The panel identified the Yucatan region as a potential place for internal relocation because the Mexico Peace Index 2019 identified this region as being the least impacted by crime.
 The claimant testified that the [XXX] brothers own property in the Yucatan region and their influence and power reaches throughout Mexico.
 The panel finds that an IFA is not reasonable given the particular profile of the claimant who is a young single woman being pursued by high level state and federal PRI politicians specifically [XXX] and [XXX] who yield enormous power and influence nationally. Since the claimant fears persecution or serious harm at the hands of individuals who are synonymous with corruption and the state, she will not be able to internally relocate to escape that risk.
 For the above mentioned reasons, the panel finds [XXX] to be a Convention refugee. The claimant has established that there is a reasonable chance of persecution, if she were to return to her country of nationality, Mexico, today.
 The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), S.C. 2001, c.27, as amended, sections 96 and 97(1).
 Chairperson’s Guideline 4: Women Refugee Claimants Fearing Gender-Related Persecution: Update, Guideline Issued by the Chairperson Pursuant to section 65(3) of the Immigration Act, IRB, Ottawa, November 25, 1996, as continued in effect by the Chairperson on June 28, 2002, under the authority found in section 159(1)(h) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
 Exhibit 2, Basis of Claim (BOC) Form, Narrative, received March 27, 2019; Exhibit 5, BOC Narrative Amendments, received February 4, 2020.
 Exhibit 5, BOC Narrative Amendments, received February 4, 2020, lines 16 – 17.
 Exhibit 7, Personal Documents, received March 13, 2020, item 2, at pp. 3 – 4.
 Exhibit 5, BOC Narrative Amendments, received February 4, 2020, lines 22 – 25.
 Ibid., lines 41 – 44.
 Exhibit 7, Personal Documents, received March 13, 2020, item 3, at pp. 5 – 7.
 Exhibit 5, BOC Narrative Amendments, received February 4, 2020, lines 57 – 61.
 Ibid., lines 33 – 35.
 Ibid., lines 96 – 102.
 Ibid., at pp. 114 – 116.
 Exhibit 1, Package of information from the referring CBSA/CIC.
 Exhibit 7, Personal Documents, received March 13, 2020, item 1, at pp.1 – 2.
 Ibid., at pp. 3 – 4.
 Ibid., items, 4 – 11, at pp. 8 – 47.
 Maldonado, Pedro Enrique Juarez v. M.C.I. (F.C.A., no. A-450-79), Heald, Ryan, MacKay, November 19, 1979. Reported: Maldonado v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration),  2 F.C. 302 (C.A.); 31 N.R. 34 (F.C.A.).
 Exhibit 2, BOC Form, Narrative, received March 27, 2019.
 Exhibit 5, BOC Narrative Amendments, received February 4, 2020.
 Exhibit 7, Personal Documents, received March 13, 2020, 45 items, 230 pages.
 Exhibit 6, Mexico Country Condition, received March 13, 2020, 27 items, 88 pages.
 Exhibit 3, National Documentation Package (NDP) for Mexico (March 31, 2020).
 Exhibit 7, Personal Documents, received March 13, 2020, item 30, at p. 176.
 Ibid., items 12 – 14, at pp. 48 – 64.
 Exhibit 5, BOC Narrative Amendments, received February 4, 2020, lines 205 – 209.
 Ibid., lines 210 – 211.
 Ibid., lines 214 – 216.
 Ibid., lines 234 – 237.
 Ibid., lines 245 – 250.
 Exhibit 7, Personal Documents, received March 13, 2020, items 19 – 20, at pp. 106 – 117.
 Ibid., item 39, at p. 202; item 41, at p. 208; item 42, at p. 215.
 Ibid., item 29, at p. 172.
 Ibid., item 42, at p. 213.
 Ibid., item 45, at p. 230.
 Exhibit 6, Mexico Country Condition, received March 13, 2020, 27 items, 88 pages.
 Ibid., item 2.1. s. Executive Summary.
 Exhibit 6, Mexico Country Condition, received March 13, 2020, 27 item 12, at pp. 40 – 41.
 Ibid., item 22, at p. 72.
 Ibid., item 8, at p. 28.
 Ibid., at p. 31.
 Ibid., item 27, at p. 87.
 Canada (Attorney General) v. Ward,  2 S.C.R. 689, 103 D.L.R. (4th) 1, 20 Imm. L.R. (2d) 85.
 Flores Carrillo, Maria Del Rosario v. M.C.I. (F.C.A., no. A-225-07), Letourneau, Nadon, Sharlow, March 12, 2008, 2008 FCA 94. Reported: Flores Carillo v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration),  4 F.C.R. 636 (F.C.A.), at para 38.
 Exhibit 7, Personal Documents, received March 13, 2020, item 30, at pp. 173 – 177.
 Exhibit 3, NDP for Mexico (March 31, 2020), item 2.1., s. Executive Summary.
 Exhibit 6, Mexico Country Condition, received March 13, 2020, item 26, at p. 83.
 Exhibit 3, NDP for Mexico (March 31, 2020); Exhibit 6, Mexico Country Condition, received March 13, 2020.
 Rasaratnam, Sivaganthan v. M.E.I. (F.C.A., no. A-232-91), Mahoney, Stone, Linden, December 5, 1991. Reported: Rasaratnam v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration),  1 F.C. 706 (C.A.), at para 9.
 Thirunavukkarasu, Sathiyanathan v. M.E.I (F.C.A., no. A-81-92), Heald, Linden, Holland, November 10, 1993. Reported: Thirunavukkarasu v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration),  1 F.C. 589 (C.A.); (1993), 22 Imm. L.R. (2d) 241 (F.C.A.).
 Exhibit 3, NDP for Mexico (March 31, 2020), item 1.5, at pp. 9 – 11.