All Countries Morocco

2022 RLLR 16

Citation: 2022 RLLR 16
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: May 11, 2022
Panel: Katarina Bogojevic
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Mo Vayeghan
Country: Morocco
RPD Number: VC1-06901
Associated RPD Number(s): N/A
ATIP Number: A-2022-01960
ATIP Pages: N/A


[1]       This is the decision of the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) in the claim of XXXX XXXX as a citizen of Morocco who is claiming refugee protection pursuant to section 96 and subsection 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (the “Act”).[1]


[2]       The claimant’s allegations are contained in his Basis of Claim (“BOC”) form.[2] The claimant is a citizen of Morocco who fears harm at the hands of authorities, society and his family because of his sexual orientation and because he has refused to be a practicing Muslim. He also fears gang members who have threatened to kill him because his brother informed on them while he was in prison. 


[3]       I find that the claimant is a Convention refugee pursuant to section 96 of the Act.

[4]       In making this determination, I have reviewed and applied the Chairperson’s Guideline 9: Proceedings before the IRB Involving Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics.



[5]       I find that the claimant’s identity as a national of Morocco is established on a balance of probabilities by his sworn testimony and the copy of his Moroccan passport and identification in evidence.[3]

Country of Reference

[6]       There was a question at the start of the hearing concerning whether the claimant might have a right to Algerian citizenship. The claimant was born in Morocco, but his parents were both born in Algeria.

[7]       The Algerian Nationality Law Article 6 (1) states that an individual born to an Algerian father is considered a national by descent.[4] As such, I would need to know the claimant’s father’s nationality to confirm whether the claimant has a right to Algerian citizenship.

[8]       I questioned the claimant about his citizenship and that of his parents. The claimant indicated they are all Moroccan. He stated that his parents were born in Algeria but are Moroccan and during Algerian independence they were displaced and sent back to Morocco. He indicated that he does not know what their status was in Algeria or why they were there. He has only met one of his grandparents and she is Moroccan.

[9]       During his counsel’s questioning, the claimant confirmed that his parents are not Algerian citizens. When I asked him how he knew this, he said that he had seen on his mother’s ID card when he was younger that she was born in Algeria and at that time he had asked her whether she had nationality there or a passport or any papers and she said no. He said he asked his father the same thing.

[10]     The claimant has not provided any affidavits or information from his parents concerning their Algerian citizenship. However, given that his allegations identify his father as an agent of harm, I find this to be reasonable. I asked the claimant whether he had tried to go to the Algerian consulate to ask about his status and he said that he had not. The claimant was sent a copy of the Algerian Nationality Law prior to the hearing; thus he would have been aware the question of his Algerian citizenship was in issue. However, I acknowledge that this was only sent three days prior to the hearing of this matter and so I find it reasonable that the claimant did not take these steps prior to the hearing. 

[11]     Having reviewed all the evidence before me, I find on a balance of probabilities that Algeria is not a country of reference. While the claimant does not know much about his parents’ status in Algeria, he did testify that they told him when he was younger that they did not have any nationality there. He also testified that his parents were displaced by the Algerian government back to Morocco, suggesting that they did not have any form of permanent status in Algeria.


[12]     In order to satisfy the definition of a “Convention refugee” found in section 96 of the Act, a claimant must establish that he or she has a well-founded fear of persecution by reason of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.

[13]     The claimant has alleged three different risks in this case. However, I have found the claimant’s sexual orientation to be determinative of his claim. As such, for the purposes of this decision I have focused solely on the claimant’s allegation concerning his sexual orientation. This allegation is connected to the convention on the basis of membership in a particular social group, namely sexual minorities. As such, I have assessed his claim under section 96.  


[14]     When a claimant affirms to tell the truth, this creates a presumption of truthfulness unless there is evidence to the contrary. A finding that the claimant lacks credibility may be based on the failure of the claimant’s account to stand up to scrutiny, or unexplained inconsistencies, omissions or contradictions.

[15]     In this case, the claimant provided a very sparse BOC narrative in which he identified that his father wanted to harm him because he was no longer a practicing Muslim and was gay, and that he was threatened by a gang member due to his brother’s involvement in the drug trade. In his narrative, he referenced back to a submission letter written by his former counsel. The letter provided by counsel was in the form of submissions and not written in the claimant’s words, as such, it could not be adopted by the claimant as his BOC narrative or evidence.

[16]     Prior to the hearing, the claimant’s counsel was sent a letter identifying that former counsel’s letter would be considered advanced submissions and outlining the requirements of a BOC. The claimant did not submit an updated BOC statement prior to the hearing, and he did not indicate that he needed to make any amendments to the BOC at the start of the hearing.

[17]     Despite this, I have found the claimant to be a credible witness concerning his sexual orientation. Both myself and his counsel questioned the claimant on his sexual orientation and the claimant’s testimony remained consistent throughout with no major omissions or contradictions. I have also relied on Guideline 9 in making my credibility findings.

[18]     The claimant testified credibly about having a difficult childhood filled with mocking and sarcasm because of the way he dressed and spoke. This is supported by an affidavit from the claimant’s uncle (his mother’s brother).[5] This bullying increased when he was around 15 or 16, after which time the claimant was involved in weekly fights. He tried to change the things about him that made him look gay and avoided talking about his sexual needs. The claimant had only two friends in school, and they were gay. One left school and the claimant lost communication with him and the other one had to change schools because of the bullying, fights, and mockery.

[19]     The claimant testified that he realized he was gay when he was around 14 or 15 years old. He had had feelings prior to this but was not sure. It was at this time that he noticed that he was attracted to another boy at his school and that he did not have the same feelings towards women that his friends did. The claimant was genuine when he described that the first impression that he had when he realized that he was gay was that there was something wrong inside of him. Later, when he came to Canada and saw how the LGBTQ community lived freely and happily, he realized that the problem was not with him but with his country and community.

[20]     The claimant also credibly testified about his same-sex relationships. The first occurring when he was about 15 years old. The claimant and his boyfriend at the time had a difficult time continuing their relationship and keeping it secret. They decided to separate after a short time because of the pressure on their relationship and the concern that they would be found out. The claimant was nervous to start any other relationships in Morocco because he felt that they would end the same way as his first.

[21]     The claimant had one relationship in Canada. He met this individual in the gym at the beginning of the pandemic. The relationship did not last because they were not able to meet very often, however they continue to be friends. The claimant credibility testified about how this individual did not know that he was gay when they first met and that he felt that their relationship was special because it helped him to realize his sexual orientation. I asked the claimant whether he had asked this individual to write an affidavit in support of his claim and he said he did not. He offered to obtain this affidavit post-hearing; however, I find that any weight that I could place on such evidence would be limited given it is being provided after the hearing has already been conducted.

[22]     Initially the claimant did have some difficulties answering his counsel’s questions related to his sexual activities. He first stated that had not had sexual relationships with men, and then later said that he had. Then he stated that he was only able to meet with his boyfriend in Morocco during school hours and not outside of school. But he later said that they had sex at his boyfriend’s house but were not able to go out in public. I acknowledge these inconsistencies; however, I rely on Guideline 9 section 3.3:

Many SOGIESC individuals conceal their SOGIESC in their country of reference out of mistrust or fear of repercussion by state and non-stat actors, or due to previous experiences of stigmatization and violence. These circumstances may manifest themselves as an individual being reluctant to discuss or having difficulty discussing their SOGIESC with a member based on fear or general mistrust of authority figures, particularly where intolerance or punishment of SOGIESC individuals are sanctioned by state officials in an individual’s country of reference.

[23]     In this case I found counsel’s questioning about the claimant’s sexual activity to be very direct and it appeared to make the claimant uncomfortable. The claimant comes from a background of having to hide his sexual orientation for fear of reprisal and physical harm. This is the first time that he was speaking openly to authority figures about his sexual orientation in a formal setting. The questions that he was being asked were very intimate. As such, I find on a balance of probabilities that the claimant’s difficulty in answering questions concerning his sexual activity can be attributed to the reasoning identified above and does not negatively impact his credibility concerning his sexual orientation. Further, I find that the claimant’s sexual activity is not determinative of his sexual orientation and that the claimant was credible concerning other elements of his relationships as outlined above. 

[24]     I have also considered the claimant’s documentary evidence which is corroborative of his claim. Particularly the letters from his brother-in-law, sister, and friends and neighbours here in Canada which all identify the claimant’s sexual orientation.[6] I acknowledge that the claimant’s uncle’s letter does not explicitly state that the claimant is gay. I find that this is reasonable given the fact that the claimant hid his sexual orientation in Morocco. I have no reason to doubt the veracity of these support letters.

[25]     The claimant submitted two letters from a deputy Imam at his mosque.[7] In one of these letters the deputy Imam describes that the claimant told him that he was “almost gay” and says that he was convinced at that time that he was gay. I place no weight on these letters as I find on a balance of probabilities that they are fraudulent. When questioned about them the claimant first said that he got them personally from the deputy Imam. When it was pointed out to him that the letters were dated after he was in Canada, he said that he must have been mistaken and that his mom obtained these letters. I find it unreasonable that the claimant would have forgotten whether he was the one that personally obtained these letters from the deputy Imam. When I asked why there were two, he said that the deputy Imam gave them two letters to choose from and that his sister accidentally sent both in as part of his evidence. The claimant was not able to explain why the deputy Imam provided two letters. I find that this puts these letters further into question as the claimant had testified that he did not have a strong relationship with the deputy Imam.

[26]     For the foregoing reasons, I find that the letters are fraudulent and place no weight in them. However, while the claimant may have submitted these fraudulent letters to bolster his claim, I do not find that this alone is sufficient to rebut the presumption of credibility with regards to the claimant’s sexual orientation. While these letters briefly mention the claimant’s presumed sexual orientation, they mainly focus on the claimant’s allegation regarding not being a practicing Muslim. I therefore find that the fraudulent nature of these letters speaks more to the claimant’s credibility regarding his religion rather than his sexual orientation. There are several other supporting letters provided by the claimant from family, friends and neighbours in Canada that explicitly identify his sexual orientation which I find to be genuine. These letters are varied, each has a unique voice and uses different language, they are all signed and provide the contact information of the letter writer. Pursuant to Guideline 9 part 3, I find it reasonable that the claimant would be able to obtain more reliable information concerning his sexual orientation from individuals in Canada, given that he was concealing his sexual orientation in Morocco. Further the claimant’s testimony regarding his sexual orientation was authentic and consistent throughout the hearing.  As such, I find the claimant to be credible regarding his sexual orientation. 

Subjective Fear

[27]     The claimant went to visit his sister in Canada in 2016. It was at that time when he first realized that he could live freely as a gay man in Canada. However, he was still in school, so he returned to Morocco, but thought about going back to Canada once he finished school. The claimant fled Morocco at the time that he did because things came to a head with his father. The claimant had been getting in regular fights at school and the principle contacted his father and told him about the rumours that the claimant was gay. It was at this time that the claimant’s father became convinced that the claimant was gay, and the claimant revealed his sexual orientation to his father. This resulted in a serious argument during which his father tried to beat him. He asked his sister for help, and she bought tickets for him and his mother (who was supportive of him) to come to Canada. The claimant did not try to leave earlier because he had not revealed his sexual orientation prior to this and was still trying to hide it to fit in with his community. I find the claimant’s explanation regarding why he did not leave Morocco sooner to be reasonable and that it does not negatively impact his subjective fear. The claimant was young and trying to hide his sexual orientation.

[28]     When he came to Canada the claimant was not aware of the option to ask for asylum until he consulted with counsel sometime in 2019. The claimant’s visitor status expired on XXXX XXXX, 2020. The claimant applied for refugee protection on XXXX XXXX, 2021. The claimant testified that he had the intention of staying in Canada permanently and that was why he was trying to extend his visitor visa in order to prepare for asylum. While the claimant did not specifically mention it in his answer, I take notice of the fact that the period between when the claimant’s visitor status expired and when he applied for refugee protection as in the middle of the pandemic when a number of services were unavailable. Given this, I find the claimant’s delay in seeking protection to be reasonable. 

[29]     Ultimately, while I acknowledge issues with the claimant’s evidence outlined above none of these issues rebut the presumption of credibility with regards to the claimant’s sexual orientation and are insufficient to reject his assertions about his sexuality. Given my finding concerning the claimant’s credible testimony and credible supporting letters from friends and family in Canada, I find on a balance of probabilities that the claimant is a gay man.

Well-Founded Fear of Persecution and Risk of Harm

[30]     To be considered a Convention Refugee, the claimant must demonstrate that he has a well-founded fear of persecution which includes both subjective fear and an objective basis for that fear. Based on the claimant’s BOC, testimony, documentary evidence and the National Documentation Packages (“NDP”) for Morocco[8], I find that the claimant does have a well-founded fear of persecution in Morocco.

[31]     Morocco criminalizes same-sex sexual activity with a maximum sentence of three years in prison for violations. In 2019, 122 individuals were prosecuted under this law. Societally there are reports of overt discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing and health care.[9] The Danish Immigration services cites that “parts of the population in Morocco are very hostile towards LGBTQ persons including public demonstrations, violent intrusions into private homes and public denunciations.” Gay men, especially those who are perceived as effeminate are most likely to be victims of physical assaults. LGBTQ people report being cautious about how they walk, talk and behave in public places in order to avoid homophobic violence.[10] This is corroborative of the claimant’s experiences as a gay man hiding his sexuality in Morocco.

[32]     Guideline 9 states, an individual’s profile may be sufficient to demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution in their country of reference given conditions that may include discriminatory laws, or at atmosphere of intolerance and repression.  It also states that being compelled to conceal one’s sexual orientation constitutes a serious interference with fundamental human rights that may amount to persecution and a claimant cannot be expected to conceal their sexuality to avoid persecution.

[33]     I find on a balance of probabilities that LGBTQ people face a significant risk of violence, arrest and conviction in Morocco due to their sexuality and that these conditions would compel the claimant to conceal his sexual orientation in an attempt to protect his physical safety.  For these reasons, I find the claimant faces a serious possibility of persecution for reason of his sexual orientation in Morocco.

State Protection and Internal Flight Alternative

[34]     There is a presumption that countries can protect their citizens. The claimant bears the burden of rebutting that presumption.

[35]     In this case, the state is one of the agents of persecution and they have effective control over all their territory. The Danish Immigration service has identified that it is almost impossible for an LGBTQ person fearing for his or her safety to obtain efficient protection by police in Morocco and that they would face arrest or stereotypical questions and prejudice.[11] I therefore find that the presumption of state protection is rebutted and there is no viable internal flight alternative for the claimant.


[36]     For the forgoing reasons, I find that the claimant is a Convention refugee pursuant to s. 96 of the Act. The claim is therefore accepted.

(signed) Katarina Bogojevic

May 11, 2022


[1] Immigration and Refugee Protection Act,S.C. 2001, c. 27.

[2] Exhibit 2.

[3] Exhibit 1.

[4] Exhibit 4.

[5] Exhibit 7.

[6] Exhibits 7 to 9.

[7] Exhibit 7.

[8] Exhibit 3.

[9] National Documentation Package, Morocco, 31 May 2021, tab 2.1: Morocco. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2020. United States. Department of State. 30 March 2021.

[10] National Documentation Package, Morocco, 31 May 2021, tab 6.2: ​Morocco. State-Sponsored Homophobia 2019. International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. Lucas Ramón Mendos. March 2019; and National Documentation Package, Morocco, 31 May 2021, tab 6.3: ​Morocco: Situation of LGBT Persons, Version 2.0. Denmark. Danish Immigration Service. September 2019.

[11]National Documentation Package, Morocco, 31 May 2021, tab 6.3: ​Morocco: Situation of LGBT Persons, Version 2.0. Denmark. Danish Immigration Service. September 2019.

All Countries Morocco

2021 RLLR 71

Citation: 2021 RLLR 71
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: June 24, 2021
Panel: Kristy Sim
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Mo Vayeghan
Country: Morocco
RPD Number: VC0-04508
Associated RPD Number(s): N/A
ATIP Number: A-2022-01594
ATIP Pages: N/A


[1]       MEMBER: This is the decision of the Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada being delivered orally on June 24th, 2021 in the claim of XXXX XXXX. I have considered your testimony and the other evidence in the case and I’m going to give you my decision orally. You will, however, receive a written transcript of this decision in the mail. Throughout the hearing and in in making my decision, I have considered and applied Chairperson’s Guidelines Guideline 9 as this case involved sexual orientation, gender identity and expression as well as Chairperson’s Guideline 4 which relates to gender-based persecution as that also relates to the nature of the allegations and the availability of a viable IFA.

[2]       The decision I have reached is a positive one (1) and I accept your claim. I find that you are a Convention refugee, and my reasons follow.

[3]       You are a citizen of Morocco and are claiming refugee protection pursuant to section 96 and subsection 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[4]       To summarize your allegations which are set out in full in your Basis of Claim form at Exhibit 2. You are a 24-year-old woman originally from Rabat who identifies as a lesbian. Starting around the age of 13, you noticed that you were attracted to girls. Your family lived in various countries as you grew up due to your father’s job and when your family returned to Morocco when you were 15 years old, you began to attend what you’ve described as a liberal minded French high school. The school was a bit more open than society, but you still didn’t feel safe being open about your sexuality other than to a few friends of yours. Your first same-sex relationship was with a classmate at this school who was named XXXX and you were about 18 years old. You mostly hung out with her in her bedroom and would play video games and do other activities. Due to the criminalization of same-sex relationships, you two (2) were very careful when you went out together in public. You intended to go to school abroad because you felt the need to escape Morocco in order to not live-in fear or in secret. You came to Canada as a student in 2015, the same year that you graduated from high school; and have been on student visas in Canada since then.

[5]       You filed for refugee protection in late 2020. You explained that you did so then because you knew that you liked living in Canada, that you could see yourself with a future here and because going back to Morocco was not an option for you given your sexual orientation. You have not told your father that you are a lesbian as you are afraid of his reaction and his possibly rejecting you. Recently, your mother asked you if you would be interested in dating women and when you told her you would, she moved on with the conversation and did not ask you any further questions which led you to believe that she wasn’t really ready or open to talk about that yet. You fear that if you return to Morocco, you will face persecution, possibly even arrest as well as other risks due to your sexual orientation.


[6]       Your identity as a national of Morocco is established by your testimony as well as documents including your passport that has several visas in it which is Exhibit 1. You testified about the information in your identity documents is consistent. I have no reason to question their authenticity and so I’m satisfied of your identity.


[7]       There is a presumption that sworn testimony is true unless there are valid reasons to doubt their truthfulness and, in your case, I find there was no serious reasons to doubt the truthfulness of your testimony. Your testimony that was direct and spontaneous. You didn’t exaggerate or tailor your evidence. There were no material inconsistencies or contradictions. You testified about coming to realize your sexual orientation and about how it felt being with a girl versus being with a boy. You credibly talked about your first same-sex relationship in Morocco when you were still in high school and how XXXX went on to study in France. You also testified about a young woman named XXXX (ph) that you dated for about a year and a half in Canada and how your relationship ended, and she returned to Malaysia. You are no longer in contact with either of these women and so I accept that you are not able to get a declaration from them or have them testify on your behalf. You testified about a dating app for women that you used and how you met XXXX (ph) who you casually dated for a while in 2020 but that due to the pandemic, that ended, and you found it difficult to socialize or date since.

[8]       You provided corroborating evidence to support your testimony in the form of a photograph of yourself at a pride event in Vancouver with some friends of yours. You also provided a letter from XXXX XXXX who has been your friend since you arrived in Canada in 2015. In his letter, he attests to you taking a while to tell him about your sexual orientation despite his telling you almost immediately about his being gay. He also attests to you attending a pride event with him and to his socializing with you and XXXX. He also explained how COVID has affected your ability to socialize and date in Canada. I accept that you’re a lesbian and that you have a subjective fear of persecution in Morocco due to your sexual orientation. In addition to which I accept that you found it difficult to live in that society as a result of your agnostic beliefs and being a woman there. Your claim has a nexus to a Convention ground by reason of your membership in a particular social group due to your sexual orientation therefore, I have assessed the claim under section 96 of the Act.

[9]       The objective evidence in the National Documentation Package as well as the reports and articles that you provided at Exhibit 3, corroborate your fear of persecution on the basis of your sexual orientation. Sexual relations between people of the same sex are illegal in Morocco. There are no laws to protect LGBT persons against discrimination or hate crimes nor are they protected against being terminated from their employment on account of their sexuality. LGBT individuals also risk physical, societal and institutional violence and I’m citing NDP Item 6.3. More recently, members of the LGBT community have also faced internet-based abuse through online attacks against individuals who are presumed to be gay or lesbian who have been outed by people trolling same-sex dating sites which has led to their being ostracized by their family and community, expelled from housing, by relatives or landlords and dismissed from their employment and there, I refer to NDP Item 6.5. A research report by the IRB in 2013 cites one (1) source as saying that convictions for homosexuality are rare and that the criminal code provisions are infrequently enforced, and that homosexuality is tolerated in Morocco. That’s NDP Item 6.1. However, the same report cites an NGO which estimates that since independence in 1956, more than five (5) thousand individuals have been prosecuted for violating the criminal code provisions around same-sex relations. It also refers to lesbians being at risk of imprisonment, discrimination and violence in addition to being shunned by families or forced into heterosexual marriage.

[10]     The US State Department report notes that 122 individuals were prosecuted for same-sex sexual activity in 2019. That’s NDP Item 2.1 and there is also a 2019 report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association found at NDP Item 6.2 which documents individuals being arrested and imprisoned for being gay quite recently. The article you disclosed at Exhibit 4 page 11 also lists numerous incidents of violence and arrest of individuals for being gay or lesbian. I also note that you provided a 2020 article by a lesbian woman from Morocco who stated much as you did that “my misogynist and oppressive Muslim society taught me one (1) thing, keep your sexuality and non-conformity to yourself, do not risk your safety and do not bring shame to your family”. And that was at Exhibit 4, page 9. I’m satisfied on the evidence before me that you would face a serious possibility of persecution in Morocco on account of your sexual orientation.

State Protection

[11]     A state is presumed to be capable of protecting its citizens and to rebut this presumption, a claimant must establish on a balance of probabilities with clear and convincing evidence that the state’s protection is inadequate. In this case, it is the state that is the agent of persecution and you cannot be expected to seek the protection of a state where that state permits and even enables the persecution of LGBT individuals. I find that there’s clear and convincing evidence that the state is unwilling to protect you.

[12]     And finally, turning to internal flight alternative. For an internal flight alternative or IFA to be viable in a section 96 analysis, there must be no serious possibility of a claimant being persecuted there. Further, the conditions in the IFA must be such that it would not be unreasonable in the circumstances for a claimant to seek refuge there. The IFA is not viable of either of these two (2) conditions are not met. Based on the evidence before me, LGBT, anti-LGBT laws and attitudes exists across the country. It is well established that being compelled to conceal one’s sexual orientation constitutes a severe interference with your fundamental human rights and that a claimant cannot be compelled to do so in order to avoid the serious possibility of persecution. As such, I find that you would be unable to live safely elsewhere in Morocco and therefore there is no viable internal flight alternative.

[13]     Having considered all of the evidence, I find that there is a serious possibility of persecution if you return to Morocco and so I accept your claim under section 96 of the Act.


All Countries Morocco

2020 RLLR 152

Citation: 2020 RLLR 152
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: October 27, 2020
Panel: Carolyn Rumsey
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Laura Setzer
Country: Morocco
RPD Number: MC0-02209
Associated RPD Number(s): N/A
ATIP Number: A-2022-00210
ATIP Pages: 000090-000094


[1]       MEMBER: So, this is the decision of the Refugee Protection Division in the claim for refugee protection of the claimant XXXX XXXX (ph) and legal name is XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX.

[2]       So, you are a citizen of Morocco and you are making a refugee claim pursuant to s. 96 and subsection 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[3]       So, because of the nature of your claim, I have considered our Chairperson’s Guidelines on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

[4]       For the reasons that follow, I find that you have established that there is a well-founded fear of persecution for yourself in Morocco, and this is based on your sexual orientation and your gender identity, and I find that you are a Convention refugee pursuant to s. 96 of the IRPA, of the Act.

[5]       As we discussed at the beginning of the hearing, your detailed allegations are contained in your Basis of Claim form. You allege that you fear that you will be harmed or killed due to your identity as a transgender woman in Morocco, but you also mention your sexual orientation as being pansexual, and I’ve also considered this as part of your claim.

[6]       So, in terms of your identity, your personal and national identities as a citizen of Morocco are established on a balance of probabilities by your testimony but also by your documentary evidence that you have on file, and in particular, a copy of your Moroccan passport.

[7]       I had to analyze your credibility and whether I (audio cuts out) what you told me today, whether I believed what was in your narrative and in your supporting documents, and I found you to be very credible.

[8]       You spoke about your experiences in Morocco, about your experiences coming out to friends that you had in Morocco in person, but also to a community of people that you met online. And you talked about your experiences also coming out to your family and how that was more of a negative experience than coming out to your friends.

[9]       And when you spoke about your reason for choosing your name, the name that you now use to refer to yourself, I found that very compelling. You gave an explanation of why you chose your first name and your last name and the importance that it held for you and how you felt since using that name.

[10]     You also talked about your experience in Ottawa when you first came here and how you suffered from XXXXandXXXX XXXX and how this led you to seek help, to seek help from the healthcare system, and how you have been following hormone therapy and you have been moving towards a transaction, and how your feelings before this were very negative and that now you feel much more comfortable in your body. And there was something in your narrative that really stuck out for me as well. You wrote in your narrative that now strangers refer to you as female and that that has — that makes you feel very good inside. So, I found that very compelling and very moving, too.

[11]     I found that there were no contradictions or omissions or inconsistencies in your testimony. You gave very detailed responses and you testified spontaneously.

[12]     You also (audio cuts out) documents to support your story. So, you submitted a letter from your doctor, the doctor that you referred to today who prescribed you the medication that you are taking, the hormone therapy. You provided a letter from your partner, XXXX (ph), who has also acted as your support person today. You also provided a copy of your joint lease for your apartment with XXXX, your partner, and other roommates here in Ottawa. And then finally, you included a number of photographs, and these are photographs of yourself before your transition, photographs of yourself now, and photographs with your partner, XXXX, as well.

[13]     So, given your credible testimony and the documents that you have submitted and the fact that your testimony was consistent with your narrative and your port of entry forms, I find that on a balance of probabilities you have established the truth in your allegations and I believe what you have said today and in your narrative.

[14]     So, I just have to talk about the objective evidence. So, we have a National Documentation Package for Morocco and there is a section that is dedicated specifically to LGBT issues, or we call them SOGIE issues, sexual orientation, gender identity, (audio cuts out) expression issues. So, I find that this documentary evidence on the situation for LGBT persons in Morocco is very clear. The most stark point is the legislation against being a member of the LGBT community.

[15]     So, the Moroccan government deems lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender orientation or identity to be illegal. And this is document 6.1 in the NDP that I’m referring to right now. It also mentions that society does not look kindly upon gay and lesbian relationships, considering them to be prohibited by Islam. And this echoes, of course, what you were saying about your relationship with religion and the way that LGBT community is perceived in Morocco. The same report talks about social violence, harassment, and blackmail based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and it also says that, specifically to the gender identity, people who feel that they belong to a gender other than their official gender do not openly discuss their situation for fear of being banished by society.

[16]     The next report in the package is 6.2. It talks about the family response to someone coming out as having a sexual orientation or gender identity that is kind of outside of the norm. They mention mob attacks, forced heterosexual marriage, confinement or eviction from family homes, psychological abuse. And the same report even mentions that even the authorities in Morocco are known to intimidate LGBTI activists. And it also says that there’s a general social hostility and this is legitimized by public officials and by the rhetoric that is anti-LGBTQ and also pervasive kind of negative medica coverage on those issues.

[17]     More specifically to transgender people, the same report indicates that they are viewed as being mentally ill and that there is a complete lack of legal gender recognition and that this restricts their access to services, so things like healthcare services and stuff like that.

[18]     There is even — there is a quote in that report that I found particularly striking and it quotes the Human Rights Minister in Morocco in 2017 as saying that (as said), “In Morocco, we have to stop talking about homosexuals because we give them value when we talk about them.” And then he said, “They are trash.” So, even coming from the government there is this anti-LGBT rhetoric, and of course, because issues concerning LGBT activities are considered illegal, that is not terrible surprising.

[19]     This report also mentions that there is a national human rights council in Morocco but that it does not address LGBTQ issues. And even more so, Morocco in Human Rights Council meetings of the UN, Morocco has voted against the adaption of resolutions that support LGBTQ issues and rights.

[20]     So, based on all of that information, I find the country condition evidence is overwhelming regarding LGBTQ persons in Morocco. And so, I find that on a balance of probabilities there is an objective basis for your fear in Morocco for that reason.

[21]     So, I had to look at two other things.

[22]     The first is state protection. So, I have to look at whether the authorities could protect you in Morocco. And given the items in the package that mention authorities’ attitudes towards LGBTQ persons and the fact LGBTQ activity is considered illegal, I find that the authorities are an agent of persecution in your case and therefore that on a balance of probabilities adequate state protection would not be available to you if you were to return to Morocco.

[23]     Finally, I also have to consider whether you could go to another part of your country and be safe there. So, that’s called internal flight alternative. Again, because — I find — because the laws that prohibit LGBTQ activity are enforced throughout Morocco and the information to me is clear that these attitudes are pervasive throughout the country, this leads me to conclude that there is nowhere that you could be safe in Morocco. So, you have a serious possibility of persecution throughout the country and therefore there is no internal flight alternative available to you.

[24]     So, to conclude, based on all of this evidence, I find that you would face a serious possibility of persecution on the basis of your particular social group as a transgender woman and as a pansexual person if you were to return to Morocco. So therefore, I find that you are a Convention refugee, and I am accepting your refugee claim under s. 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[25]     COUNSEL: Thanks very much.

[26]     MEMBER: So, I just want to say thank you to XXXX XXXX XXXX. I — I really appreciate your willingness to do this in a virtual way in particular given the difficulties that we’re facing this year in 2020. So, thank you for that. Thank you for your testimony as well. I know it’s not an easy thing to do, to -­ especially to talk about these kinds of sensitive issues with a stranger, so I really appreciate that very much.

[27]     I want to say thank you to your partner, XXXX, as well for being support today this morning.

[28]     And thank you, Counsel, as well for your support.

[29]     COUNSEL: Thank you.

[30]     MEMBER: So, just one last thing to — to let you know is that if you change your mailing address, if you decide to move, just let the Board know, just keep your address updated because the decision I just read out to you, you will receive a written copy of that decision in the mail and we don’t want you to miss that.

[31]       So, congratulations and I wish you all the best. Take good care of yourself.

[32]       COUNSEL: Thanks very much.

[33]       MEMBER: Thank you. Bye-bye.

[34]       COUNSEL: Bye-bye.

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