Citation: 2020 RLLR 34
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: January 16, 2020 (date of transcription)
Counsel for the Claimant(s): N/A
RPD Number: MB8-21947
ATIP Number: A-2021-00655
ATIP Pages: 000024-000027
 These are the reasons for the decision in the claim of Madam [XXX], who claims to be a citizen of Uganda, and is claiming refugee protection pursuant to Sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. I note that prior to the hearing, the Board has granted Counsel’s request to designate the claimant as a vulnerable person according to Chairperson’s guideline concerning procedures with respect to vulnerable persons appearing before the Immigration and Refugee Board. As per request of the Counsel, the Board has allowed the following procedure accommodations to ensure that the claimant was not disadvantaged in presenting her case. A female Member Panel, a small hearing room, and the taking of breaks according to the needs of the claimant.
 The claimant alleges that she fears persecution by the government because of her political opinion and because of her sexual orientation as a lesbian. She believes that if she returns to Uganda, she will be imprisoned and seriously harmed by the government and there is no safe place for her to return to in Uganda.
 Having considered the totality of the evidence, I find the claimant to be a “Convention refugee” under Section 96 on the grounds of her political opinion.
 The determinative issue in this claim is credibility.
 Based on a certified true copy of the claim… claimant’s Ugandan passport and her national identity card, the original of which was seized by the CBSA, I’m satisfied with the claimant’s nationality and personal identity.
 In assessing the claimant’s credibility, I have taken into consideration her medical report from the [XXX] in the United States, and her psychiatric reports from the [XXX] in Montreal, and a letter from a psychotherapist. I note that she was diagnosed with [XXX] by Dr. [XXX] (phonetic) of the [XXX]. With respect to her political activism, I find that claimant was capable of giving a spontaneous and straightforward testimony. She answered all the questions posed to her without hesitation. She was able to elaborate on her motivation, involvement, and aspirations in human rights issues and politics in Uganda. She provided a detailed account of the alleged incidents that she and her family encountered at the hands of the State agents because of her anti-government views and opinions. There were no major inconsistencies, discrepancies or omissions between the claimant’s testimony, her previous declarations and the documentary evidence she provided in support of her alleged incident of persecution. In particular, the police reports and the medical certificate of her son corroborate her allegations of being targeted by the State. I have no reasons to doubt the authenticity of these documents.
 With respect to the claimant’s subjective fear, I note that the claimant was in the United States from [XXX] to [XXX] 2014, during which time she did not claim refugee status. As to explain why, she testified that her children were in Uganda then, under the care of her elderly mother. And, there had been no serious incident that occurred to her yet. She missed her children and she wanted to be reunited with them, taking care of them, with the hope that things would turn better. She therefore did not claim asylum in the States and returned to Uganda. I find her explanations not unreasonable. The claimant went to the United States again at the end of [XXX] 2018 and stayed there for three days before coming to Canada to seek protection. She was asked why she did not claim refugee status in the States on this occasion. She explained that her plan was to come to Canada because her husband was here and she believed this is a good country where she can have all the freedom. Given the short stay she was in the United States, the Panel does not infer her failure to claim refugee status in the U.S. to a lack of subjective fear. For both reasons, I conclude that the claimant has established her subjective fear of persecution by reason of political opinion.
 I further examined whether there is an objective base to the claimant’s subjective fear of persecution. I note that the claimant’s allegations of the treatment of political opponents by the ruling party are supported by the following objective documentary evidence in the National Documentation Package for Uganda. The Amnesty International report 2017, 2018, states that rights of freedom of expression, association and assembly were restricted. Individuals in Uganda who express political views that do not align with the government in power face a risk of persecution. The Human Right Watch 2019 states that violation of rights to freedom of association, expression and assembly persisted, as security forces beat, and at times torture and arbitrarily detain protestors, journalists and opposition members. 33 people, including 6 parliamentarians, were arrested during the bi-election campaigns in Arua. They faced treason charges and alleged torture by the security forces, police and soldiers beat and detain journalist reporting in Arua and at ensuing protests. The United States Department of State country report on human rights practices for 2018 notes that significant h7uman rights issues were observed, including unlawful killings and torture by security forces, harsh prison conditions, arbitrary detention, restrictions on freedom of press, expression, assembly, and political participation as well as official corruption. The same report also notes that the Ugandan government was reluctant to investigate, prosecute or punish officials who committed human rights violations whether in the security services or elsewhere in the government and impunity was a problem. The police arrest and detain members of the opposition. Given all of the above objective country conditions, I find there is an objective basis to the claimant’s subjective fear.
 I have considered whether the claimant would have State protection should she return to Uganda. In this case, given the agent of persecution is the State, which acts with impunity as it transpires in the documentary evidence I just referred to, I find that adequate State protection would not be reasonably forthcoming to the claimant in her circumstances. Hence, the presumption of State protection was rebutted.
INTERNAL FLIGHT ALTERNATIVE
 I have also considered whether a viable internal flight alternative exists for the claimant. The documentary evidence indicates that the State authorities operate similarly throughout Uganda, and that the State is un control of all its territory. Therefore, I do not find that the claimant has a viable alternative of internal flight anywhere in Uganda.
 Based on the foregoing analysis, I find that the claimant has established there is a reasonable chance or serious possibility that she would be persecuted for a Convention ground, that is by reason of political opinion, should she return to Uganda. I therefore accept her claim.