Citation: 2020 RLLR 122
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: February 18, 2020
Panel: Arash Banakar
Counsel for the Claimant(s):
RPD Number: MB9-15304
Associated RPD Number(s): MB9-15315, MB9-15342, MB9-15345, MB9-15346
ATIP Number: A-2021-01106
ATIP Pages: 000025-000038
 MEMBER: This is the decision of the Refugee Protection Division in the claims of [XXX], his wife, [XXX], and their children, [XXX] and [XXX]. Principal file number MB9-15304.
 The claimants are stateless Palestinians with the exception of [XXX], who is a citizen of the United States.
 They all claim refugee protection m Canada pursuant to sections 96 and 97(1) of the
Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
 Prior to the start of the hearing, [XXX] was named as the designated representative for his three children, who are minors.
 I have considered your testimony and the other evidence in the case and I am prepared to render my decision orally.
 A written version of these reasons will be provided to you by mail at a later date.
 I find that [XXX] and [XXX] have established on a balance of probabilities that they face a well-founded fear of persecution in their country of former habitual residence due to their nationality or ethnicity as stateless Palestinians.
 Your claims are therefore accepted.
 With respect to the claim of [XXX], it has not been established that she faces a serious possibility of persecution, or on a balance of probabilities, a risk to her life, or risk of cruel or unusual treatment or punishment, or danger of torture, in the United States.
 Her claim is therefore denied.
 Your allegations are detailed in your Basis of Claim forms.
 In summary, [XXX] was born in a refugee camp in South Lebanon in [XXX] to Palestinian parents.
 After completing his university studies in Turkey, [XXX] went back to Lebanon to find work, but was refused several opportunities on account of his status as a Palestinian refugee.
 In [XXX] 2000, he obtained a visa to travel to the U.A.E. Once there, he found a job and remained in the U.A.E. until his final departure in [XXX] of 2019.
 [XXX] was born in Lebanon in [XXX] to Palestinian parents.
 In 1987 she and her family fled Lebanon and travelled to the U.A.E.
 [XXX] and [XXX] met in the U.A.E. and they married in 2003.
 In 2014, [XXX] became friends with a work colleague by the name of [XXX] (Ph.).
 In [XXX] of 2016, [XXX] travelled to Lebanon in order to renew his Lebanese travel document.
 He was to go for an interview with a Lebanese official and members of the Hezbollah.
 Considering that [XXX] worked in the field of [XXX] for nearly two decades in the U.A.E. and was familiar with various military bases, he was told to provide information about military sites in the U.A.E. to [XXX], who had ties with the Hezbollah.
 [XXX] returned to the U.A.E. with the intention of not cooperating with the Lebanese authorities and never going back to Lebanon.
 In [XXX] of 2019, [XXX] was summoned by the [XXX] Services.
 He was questioned about his relationship with [XXX].
 [XXX] was told that he was no longer welcome in the U.A.E. and that he and his family had to leave.
 On [XXX] 2019, [XXX] along with his wife and children, travelled from the U.A.E. to the U.S.A.
 On [XXX] 2019, the claimants crossed the Canada/U.S. border and applied for refugee status upon entry.
 The personal and national identity of [XXX], as a citizen of the U.S., is established on a balance of probabilities by her birth certificate from the State of Hawaii, her U.S. passport, and her U.A.E. resident visa that are on file.
 I find that the other claimants have established their personal and national identities as stateless Palestinians based on their UNRWA Family Registration Card, their Palestinian refugee cards, as well as the birth certificates of [XXX] and [XXX].
Countries of Former Habitual Residence
 In cases where a claimant is stateless, an examination of the claimant’s countries of formal habitual residence is required.
 As far as to finding what constitutes a country of former habitual residence, established jurisprudence states that:
 “While claimants — a claimant needs to have established a significant period of de facto residence in a country of former habitual residence, the term implies a situation where a stateless person was admitted to a given country with a view to a continuing residence of some duration.”
 With this in mind, I have considered whether Lebanon and the U.A.E. may qualify as countries of former habitual residence for the stateless claimants.
 Both the adult claimants were born in Lebanon.
 [XXX] spent approximately 20 years in Lebanon and has a variety of documents from the Lebanese authorities which confirms that he was admitted to Lebanon with the view of continuing residence.
 From 2000 to 2019, he lived and worked in the U.A.E. And although he alleges he can no longer return there, the fact remains that he did establish de facto residence in the U.A.E. and was admitted with a view to continue residence there.
 I therefore consider both the U.A.E. and Lebanon as countries of former habitual residence for [XXX].
 As for [XXX], while she was born in Lebanon, she only spent four years there.
 Nevertheless, the Federal Court, in the decision Al-Khateeb, stated that:
 “Significant period of de facto residence can mean something other than a substantial period of time and a short period can be significant.”
 I’ve considered [XXX] period of time in Lebanon to be significant, considering that she continues to have official ties to Lebanon as a resident of that country and a recognized refugee by the Lebanese Republic.
 I therefore consider Lebanon to be a country of former habitual residence for [XXX].
 I also considered the U.A.E. to be a country of former habitual residence for [XXX], given that she lived there for approximately three decades.
 As for [XXX] and [XXX], I also find that their countries of former habitual residence are Lebanon and the U.A.E.
 While they did not reside in Lebanon for an extended period of time, as their parents did, they have spent time there and they are recognized as residents of Lebanon by the Lebanese authorities, as indicated in the Lebanese refugee cards and their UNRWA Family Registration Cards.
 Given the two identified countries of former habitual residence in this case, I will examine if the claimants, other than [XXX], would suffer persecution in Lebanon, and if so, whether they have the right to return to the United Arab Emirates.
 Testimony provided under oath is presumed to be truthful, unless there is a reason for doubting its truthfulness.
 The adult claimants were each genuine, sincere, and candid in their testimony. There was no attempt to embellish or exaggerate their claims.
 Although [XXX]–[XXX] testified as to the harassment and discrimination he suffered in Lebanon.
 He also explained the fears that he has for his wife and children should they accompany him to Lebanon.
 The allegations regarding the harassment and discrimination suffered by Palestinians in Lebanon and their limited to access to employment, education, and health care is consistent with the documentary evidence in the National Documentation Package for Lebanon. I refer to the documents in section 13 of the National Documentation Package for Lebanon.
 I also note that [XXX] has provided a variety of documents regarding his work experience in the U.A.E.
 For these reasons, I find the claimants have established their allegations on a balance of probabilities.
Section 96 Analysis for the Stateless Claimants
 The determinative issue for me in these claims is whether, as stateless Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, the claimants face a forward-looking serious possibility of persecution on the basis of their Palestinian nationality. This includes a serious possibility of cumulative discrimination amounting to persecution.
 For the reasons outlined above, I find that you have established your identities as stateless Palestinians whose former habitual residence is Lebanon.
 I find that based on the objective country evidence regarding the treatment of stateless Palestinians in Lebanon, you all face a serious possibility of cumulative discrimination amounting to persecution.
 Item 13.1 of the National Documentation Package for Lebanon is a Response to Information Request which cites the U.S. Department of State Report in saying that:
 “There is widespread and systematic discrimination against Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.”
 The same document cites sources which state that:
 “Palestinians in Lebanon are more at risk of arbitrary detention, torture, and kidnapping.”
 And that:
 “Palestinians lack basic social, economic, political, and civil rights.”
 Item 13.4 of the National Documentation Package, another Response to Information Request, reports that:
 “Discriminatory policies against Palestinians in Lebanon are systematic and Palestinians have been discriminated against by the Lebanese state for decades. There are few signs that this will improve. Palestinian refugees are characterized as poor or often live in extreme poverty and are economically disadvantaged.”
 Item 13.2 in the National Documentation Package for Lebanon, a more recent UNHCR report states that:
 “Palestinian refugees in Lebanon reportedly continued to face acute socioeconomic
deprivation and legal barriers to their full enjoyment of a broad range of human rights.
 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are reported to have historically been marginalized and excluded from key aspects of social, political, and economic life, with no right to own immovable property, severely curtailed access to public services such as health and education, and restrictions regarding specific professions and limited job opportunities.”
 Finally, Item 13.7 of the National Documentation Package for Lebanon, a Danish Immigration Service Reports cites an international organization at page 28 of the report, stating that:
 “The situation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, with regard to the access to public education, health care, and employment was not changed in recent years and Palestinians remain excluded from access to public services in Lebanon.”
 On the basis of this evidence, I find that the treatment of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and restrictions to employment, property rights, and movement, and their denial of access to healthcare and education by the Lebanese State constitutes cumulative discrimination amounting to persecution.
 Given my conclusion, I have not analyzed the allegations of [XXX] being threatened by the Lebanese authorities. However, I did note that I find these allegations to also be credible.
State Protection and Internal Flight Alternative for the Stateless Claimants in Lebanon
 A number of human rights abuses persist within the Palestinian camps in in Lebanon in
 These include arbitrary arrest and detention of Palestinians by state security forces and by autonomous Palestinian security groups.
 Lebanon is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and Palestinian refugees who live in Lebanon are denied citizenship rights in that country.
 Lebanon does not recognize the UN’s 1967 Protocol and does not recognize the basic rights and legal obligations to people with refugee status.
 Information from the Danish Immigration Services sets out the social discrimination against Palestinians in Lebanon and notes that:
 “They are less protected and often linked in the Lebanese media to insecurities, civil war, and radical groups.”
 The former Minister of Lebanon has stated that:
 “Palestinians in Lebanon are in complete misery and a very dire situation.”
 [XXX] testimony and the documentary evidence referenced above make it clear that state protection and relocation within Lebanon are not options for the claimants.
 The U.S. Department of State Report sets out that:
 “Severe discrimination against Palestinians is widespread and systematic throughout all areas of Lebanon, particularly outside of refugee camps.
 Legislation in Lebanon prohibits Palestinian refugees from owning property in the country.”
 For all these reasons, I find on a balance of probabilism that adequate state protection is not available to the claimants and that an internal flight alternative is also not available, as they would not be able to reasonably relocate within Lebanon.
Inability to Return to the U.A.E.
 The claimants maintain in their testimony that they cannot return to the U.A.E., where they had temporary residence.
 [XXX] was ordered to leave the country by the Emirate Security Officials and subsequently had his employment terminated.
 He maintains that neither he, nor his family, can return to the U.A.E. at this point.
 In addition to [XXX] testimony, I have also considered the Response to Information Requests at Tabs 14.1 and 14.2 of the U.A.E. National Documentation Package.
 Tab 14.1 indicates that after a six-month absence, a resident of the U.A.E. cannot re-enter the country without having to obtain a new visa.
 Given [XXX] credible allegations, it is unlikely that [XXX], or his family, could obtain a new visa and re-enter the U.A.E.
 As a result of the above, I find that the stateless claimants cannot return to the U.A.E. as a country of formal habitual residence.
Refugee Claim of [XXX], Citizen of the U.S.
 Under section 96 and subsection 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, a refugee claimant — a refugee claim must be established in regards to the claimant’s country of nationality.
 As mentioned earlier, [XXX] is an American citizen.
 Consequently, I considered the possibility of persecution and the risk of harm that she would face in the U.S.
 When questioned on the risks to [XXX] stated that he had no fears for his daughter in the U.S., other than the fact that she would be separated from her parents.
 Counsel for his part had no argument regarding any potential persecution or risk of harm to [XXX] in the U.S.
 In order to be considered refugees, claimants must face a well-founded fear of persecution based on a Convention ground.
 In my view, the claimants have not established that [XXX] would face persecution for a ground stated under the Convention.
 With neither a link to the Convention, nor a fear of persecution, I conclude that she is not a refugee, as per section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
 Furthermore, the claimants have not made any allegations that [XXX] faces a danger of torture in the U.S., as per section 97(1)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, or a risk to her life, as per section 97(1)(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
 Regarding cruel and unusual treatment, I do not find that [XXX] could find herself separated from her parents upon return to the U.S., on a balance of probabilities.
 There are provisions under the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that will more likely than not allow [XXX] to remain in Canada with her parents, given their soon to be status of Convention refugees.
 The claimants have therefore not demonstrated that [XXX] would face harm as described under paragraph 97(1)(b) on a balance of probabilities.
 Having considered all the evidence, including your testimony, I find that [XXX] and [XXX] are Convention refugees pursuant to section 96 of the Act and I therefore accept your claims.
 I find that [XXX] has not established that she faces a serious possibility of persecution or, on a balance of probabilities, a risk to her life, or a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment, or danger of torture in the United States. Her claim is therefore denied.
 I want to thank you for your testimony today and I wish you and your children all the best.
 — Upon concluding