Citation: 2020 RLLR 55
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: October 16, 2020
Panel: Tim Crowhurst
Counsel for the Claimant(s): El-Farouk Khaki
RPD Number: TB7-23803
ATIP Number: A-2021-00655
ATIP Pages: 000171-000176
REASONS FOR DECISION
 These are the reasons for the decision in the claim of [XXX], who claims to be a citizen of Rwanda, and is claiming refugee protection pursuant to sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).1
 The claimant alleges that he and his family are long time friends of Diane Rwigara, who ran for the Presidency of Rwanda in 2017.
 The claimant alleges that he provided support to her campaign in the form of a vehicle, as well as providing signatures for her nomination form [XXX].
 Shortly after the election, police arrested and detained the claimant for a period of about two weeks, during which he was tortured and psychologically abused.
 Following his release, which was secured by a family member, police continued to visit his home and threaten the claimant and his parents.
 The claimant’s parents fled to Kenya.
 Prior to the arrest and detention, the claimant had already secured a student visa to come to Canada.
 A relative then bribed a police officer and helped the claimant flee Rwanda and travel to Canada.
 A friend of the family picked him up at the airport and helped the claimant recover from his injuries and find a lawyer in order to make a refugee claim.
 The panel finds the claimant to be Convention refugee as he has established a serious possibility of persecution should he return to Rwanda, based on the grounds in section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)
 The panel finds that the claimant’s identity as a citizen of Rwanda is established by the certified true copy of his Rwandan Passport.2
 The panel find that the claimant has established a nexus to section 96 by reason of the claimant’s political opinion as a supporter of the Rwandan Opposition
 The panel finds the claimant to be a credible witness, and therefore believes what he has alleged in support of his claim. The claimant testified in a straightforward and concise manner during the oral hearing, testifying in English. The panel found that the claimant’s testimony was in no way inconsistent or contradictory with the documentary evidence, including the supportive objective evidence contained in the National Documentation Package (NDP).3
 The claimant’s allegations of detention and torture at the hands of the Rwandan government, are consistent with information contained in the NDP document, excerpts of which are reproduced here for context.
“Treatment of Diana Rwigara’s Supporters After the August 2017 Electoral Period”
According to the German magazine Der Spiegel, Diane Rwigara’s supporters no longer dare mention their support for her in public (Der Spiegel 29 Apr. 2019). (…)the following information on the treatment of President Kagamé’s opponents in general may be useful.
In a telephone interview with the Research Directorate, an assistant professor at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies who has conducted research in Rwanda, notably on the impacts of violence on women’s political mobilization, explained that, generally, opponents or critics of President Kagamé avoid expressing their views in public, even in a casual setting like a café or bar, for fear of being overheard by intelligence services or government informants (Assistant Professor 25 Apr. 2019). Similarly, in a telephone interview with the Research Directorate, an associate professor of development at the University of Ottawa’s School of International Development and Global Studies working on issues of governance in Rwanda indicated that the Rwandan government’s control apparatus is very developed, encompassing local forms of surveillance as well as informants in local governance structures (Associate Professor 2 May 2019). Similarly, in its Freedom in the World 2019 report, Freedom House states that “[t]he authorities reportedly use informants to infiltrate civil society, further discouraging citizens from expressing dissent” (Freedom House 29 Jan. 2019, sec. D4).
According to the US Department of State’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018, laws prohibiting “divisionism, genocide ideology, and genocide denial” were broadly applied by the Rwandan government, including to silence political dissent and those critical of the government (US 13 Mar. 2019, 14). The Associate Professor added that the government has instituted a [translation] “legal control apparatus” such that accusations of “denial or criticism [of the official version] of the genocide” are often levelled against political opponents who may be imprisoned as a result (Associate Professor 2 May 2019). An article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), commenting on the treatment of certain opposition figures in Rwanda, also reports that the authorities used genocide denial charges to “silence … opponents” (WSJ 31 Oct. 2017).
According to the Associate Professor, those openly critical of the government or opposing the government and who hold [translation] “locally important” positions (for example, a local prominent citizen or teacher) are especially at risk of being targeted by these forms of surveillance and control and of being threatened, arrested or physically injured (Associate Professor 2 May 2019).
The Assistant Professor indicated that “even low members [of opposition parties] who try to run, for instance, in local elections,” as well as supporters of those opposition parties, risk being harassed by law enforcement, or arrested, and face risks of “disappearance, even murders”(Assistant Professor 25 Apr. 2019). According to the Assistant Professor, the consequences can also be material, such as confiscation of property by the government or expropriation (Assistant Professor 25 Apr. 2019). Similarly, the Wall Street Journal cites an exiled Rwandan economist as stating that the authorities have proceeded with “‘arbitrary'” seizures of businesses and properties based on accusations of financial crimes, such as tax evasion or fraud (WSJ 31 Oct. 2017).4
 The claimant provided copies of his Facebook Messenger conversations5 with Diane Rwigara wherein she professes concern for the claimant’s wellbeing and is wary of having any conversations that may be monitored by the government.
 The claimant has also provided documentary evidence of the Public Prosecutor6 granting provisional release as well as Minutes of Detention,7 which speak to the charges against him based on his political involvement.
 The panel accepts, on a balance of probabilities, that the claimant’s allegations did occur as he testified and as expressed in his Basis of Claim narrative.
Objective Basis of Future Risk
 Based on the credibility of the claimant’s allegations, the documentary evidence provided and the objective evidence which supports these allegations, the panel finds that the claimant has established serious possibility of a future risk that he will be subjected to persecution.
 To be considered persecution, the prospective risk of harm must be sufficiently serious, either individually or cumulatively, to constitute persecution.
 The claimant has faced arrest, detention, inhumane treatment and punishment in detention. He fears he will be arrested again if he were to return to Rwanda. The panel find that the types of harm that the claimant has faced in the past and may face in the future are persecutory.
 The fact that the claimant faces this risk is corroborated by the following documents: National Documentation Package (NDP) for Rwanda- September 1, 2020, item 2.2, Rwanda. Human Rights in Africa: Review of 2019, and item 4.1, Rwanda: Politically Closed Elections.
 The panel finds that it would be objectively unreasonable for the claimant to seek the protection of the state in light of his particular circumstances. It is the government that the claimant fears.
Internal Flight Alternative (IFA)
 The panel considered whether a viable internal flight alternative exists for the claimant. On the evidence before me, the panel finds that there is a serious possibility of persecution throughout Rwanda. The government has effective control throughout the country and in the NDP, item 3.7, it describes the system of registration to account for citizens, through birth, death, and health, making the government capable of tracking the claimant should he return to Rwanda.
 Based on the analysis above, the panel concludes that the claimant has established a serious possibility of persecution based on a Convention ground pursuant to Section 96 of IRPA. Accordingly, the claim is accepted.
(signed) Tim Crowhurst
October 16, 2020
1 The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c.27, as amended, sections 96 and 97(1).
2 Exhibit 1, Package of Information from the Referring CBSA/IRCC.
3 Exhibit 3, National Documentation Package (NDP) for Rwanda (September 1 2020).
4 NDP, item 4.6 at pgs. 2-3.
5 Exhibit 6.
6 Exhibit 7.