Categories
All Countries Yemen

2020 RLLR 94

Citation: 2020 RLLR 94
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: February 25, 2020
Panel:
Counsel for the Claimant(s):
Country: Yemen
RPD Number: MB9-22272
Associated RPD Number(s):
ATIP Number: A-2021-00945
ATIP Pages: 000039-000047

I have considered your testimony and the other evidence in this case and I am ready to render my decision orally. These are the reasons for the decision in the claim of [XXX] who has declared to be a citizen of Yemen and is claiming refugee protection pursuant to Sections 96 and Subsection 97.1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[2]       I should tell you before we proceed any further that this is a positive decision for you.

[3]       You allege the following. You were born in Saudi Arabia. Your parents are Yemini and do not have citizenship in Saudi Arabia. You were living in Saudi Arabia pursuant to your father’s residency permit which was tied to his work as a doctor in Saudi Arabia. You left Saudi Arabia with your family when you were nine years old to live in Yemen where you lived until 2015 and then returned the following year to continue your studies.

[4]       You do not have citizenship in Saudi Arabia and have no right of residency there. You allege that you are at risk of death and detention and serious harm because you oppose the Houthi militias and the Houthi takeover of power in Yemen. You also fear that the Houthi militias will force you to fight for them. You further allege that your family is from Taizz and the Houthis perceive people from that region as being opposed in interest to them.

[5]       Moreover, you allege that the Houthis know that you have spent time in Saudi Arabia and they see you as aligned with Saudi interests. You allege that you were mistreated by the Houthi militia several times because you oppose them and refuse to join them and attend their gatherings. You allege that on [XXX] 2015 you left Yemen for Saudi Arabia with your family. You returned to Yemen after approximately one year because you wanted to continue your university studies after which you intended to return to Saudi Arabia.

[6]       You allege that on [XXX] 2018 you were home alone when approximately twelve armed Houthi militia members arrived in two armored cars and accused you of being aligned with the cause of Saudi Arabia and accused you of having explosives in your car. They broke in, detained you, took your phone, wallet and keys and everything of value in your home. They blindfolded you, called you a traitor, beat you and threatened to kill you.

[7]       They took you to an unknown location and accused you of being a Saudi agent. You were released after three days and left for Saudi Arabia several days later. You only returned to Yemen briefly to renew your Saudi Arabian residency. You left Saudi Arabia for the United States on [XXX] 2019 and came to Canada several days later. And your claim was referred to the Refugee Protection Division shortly thereafter.

Determination

[8]       I find that you are a “Convention Refugee” as you have established a serious possibility of persecution on account of your real or imputed political opinion against the Houthi militias and the Houthi takeover in Yemen. And your imputed political opinion in favor of the Saudi Arabian coalition forces. As such I find that you have established a nexus to Section 96 of the Refugee Convention.

Analysis

Identity

[9]       I find that your identity as a national of Yemen is established on a balance of probabilities by your testimony and the supporting documentation filed including your Yemeni passport.

[10]     Before I proceed any further with the analysis of your claim I would like to deal with the issues of your status in Saudi Arabia. While you were born in Saudi Arabia and lived there until you were nine your status has always been temporary and dependent on the sponsorship of a family member, your father who is employed there.

[11]     According to the objective documentary evidence Saudi Arabia does not grant citizenship to people in your circumstances and does not offer permanent residency status for foreigners. Given your written statements and the documents on file I am satisfied that you had only temporary status there and it cannot be concluded that you have had or could have rights and obligations akin to the possession of nationality in Saudi Arabia.

[12]     I am therefore satisfied that you have no permanent status either residency or citizenship in any other country aside from Yemen at this time. I make this conclusion in reliance on your testimony and the country condition documents found at tabs. 3.1, 3.4, 3.5 and 3.7 of the National Documentation Package for Saudi Arabia, March 29, 2019 version.

Credibility

[13]     I find you be a creditable witness and therefore I believe what you have alleged in support of your claims. You testified in a straightforward manner although you were nervous. There were no relevant inconsistencies in your testimony or contradictions between your testimony and the other evidence before me which has not been satisfactorily explained.

[14]     In particular, you testified creditably as to your opposition to the Houthis militias and their take over of Yemen. You testified creditably as to your refusal to advocate for their cause and the mistreatment you suffered at the hands of the Houthi militia because of their perception that you are on the side of the Saudi regime.

[15]     I questioned you on your return to Yemen several times after the Houthis started visiting your home and your return to Yemen after you were detained by the Houthis in [XXX] 2018. Particularly your return to Yemen in [XXX] 2019.

[16]     You explained that you returned in 2016 only to complete your university studies and you did not intend to remain and that you tried to stay out of their way. And that before the [XXX] 2018 incident they had only verbally threatened you. You further explained that you returned in [XXX] 2019 only to renew your residency status in Saudi Arabia so that you could continue to live there for the time being.

[17]     I find your explanations in this regard to be reasonable in the circumstances and in consideration of the whole of the evidence including your personal profile and the country conditions evidence as to the current situation in Yemen I do not find that your behavior in that regard impugns your credibility generally or to be a determining factor in this case.

[18]     In addition, I questioned you on your failure to claim asylum in the United States despite having arrived in the United States before coming to Canada. You explained that you did not claim asylum there because of the current Trump administration’s stance on immigration. Considering the current climate around immigration in the United States I find your explanation to be reasonable and I find that your failure to claim in the United States does not impugn your credibility generally.

[19]     I have also considered the documents that you submitted into evidence namely your confirmation of admission to university in Yemen at Exhibit E2, a copy of your father’ s Yemeni passport demonstrating his birth place of Taizz at Exhibit E3, a copy of your birth certificate demonstrating your birth in Saudi Arabia and your parents Yemeni nationalities at Exhibit E4 and your Saudi Arabian residency card at Exhibit E5. You have also submitted several articles on the recent actions of the Houthi movement and militia.

[20]     After reviewing the documents, I have no reason to doubt their authenticity and coupled with my findings as to your creditable testimony I find that these documents corroborate your allegations. In consideration of the above I find that you have established your key allegations on a balance of probabilities and that you have a subjective fear of return to Yemen.

Prospective Risk of Return to Yemen

[21]     A Claimant must demonstrate that they would face a serious possibility of persecution on a Convention ground if they were to return to their country or that on a balance of probabilities return to their country would subject them personally to a danger of torture or a risk to their life or a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment. You have indicated that if you return to Yemen your life would be at risk. You would be considered an enemy by the Houthis because of your refusal to join them and advocate for them and because of your background as having lived in Saudi Arabia and your family ties there as well as your family’s background in Taizz.

[22]     In considering your prospective risk of return to Egypt I have taken into consideration your personal profiles and your particular situation at the present time. I note that in your case you are a twenty-five-year-old single man. Your parents are from Taizz. You were born in Saudi and spent much of your childhood there. Your parents and most siblings have returned to Saudi Arabia and continue to live there. I have also taken into consideration the objective

[23]     I have taken into consideration the objective documentary evidence as to the current situation in Yemen particularly for those who are perceived as anti-Houthi or anti-militia and those who may be perceived as being in favor of the Saudi led coalition against the Houthi rebel groups.

[24]     The objective evidence clearly demonstrates that Yemen is the sight of an armed conflict that has lasted for several years and continues to this day involving the Houthis Sele rebels primarily from the northern region and forces loyal to the internationally recognized government based in the southern region.

[25]     The civil war began around 2015 when foreign powers led by Saudi Arabia intervened to support the government of President Hadi against the Houthi rebel movement and forces linked to the former president Sele. The conflict involves numerous armed groups or militias and all parties to the conflict have been reported to have committed serious violations of human rights including arbitrary executions, acts of torture, arbitrary detentions and use of weaponry against the civilian population.

[26]     The evidence further indicates that the armed groups engage in forced recruitment including the forced recruitment of child soldiers. The internationally recognized Yemeni government is said to be incapable of securing the whole of the territory. The evidence further indicates that those who are perceived as opponents to the Houthis including those perceived as supportive of the former regime and thus aligned with Saudi Arabia as well as their family members are at risk of violence from the Houthi militias. This includes risks such as death, disappearance, detention and kidnapping for ransom which are clearly persecution.

[27]     In considering this country evidence I refer specifically to Tabs 1.5, 1.7, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5 and 5.1 of the National Documentation Package for Yemen.

[28]     I have also taken into consideration the profile of your agents of persecution, the pro­ Houthi armed groups operating in Yemen. It is clear that armed groups including the Houthis engage in acts of violence against persons that they view as opponents and that this treatment amounts to persecution particularly for those who are perceived as aligned with Saudi Arabia.

[29]     In consideration of the objective documentary evidence and your creditable allegations I find that you have all established that you face a future risk in Yemen to being subjected to serious harm or violence including disappearance, detention and death and also in consideration of your particular profile I find that you have established that you are also at risk of forced recruitment into those armed groups or militias which you are opposed to.

[30]     As such I find that your subjective fear of returning to Yemen is objectively well-founded and that you face a serious possibility of persecution on a Convention ground, namely that of your real or imputed political opinion if you were to return to Yemen.

State Protection

[31]     I find that it would be objectively unreasonable for you to seek the protection of the state in light of the current circumstances. I have discussed the objective documentary evidence concerning the current situation in Yemen. I have also discussed the setting of the major civil armed conflict that is going on there. The central state has either collapsed or lost control over large segments of the territory.

[32]     Serious crimes against humanity have been committed by internationally recognized government forces and opposition forces with impunity. Disregard for the rule of law is widespread and impunity is persistent and pervasive throughout the country. The evidence further demonstrates that civilians are disproportionately affected by the hostilities to the extent that thousands of people have been displaced.

[33]     In view of this evidence and in consideration of your personal profile I find that you have rebutted the presumption of state protection with clear and convincing evidence that the state or any other force exerting governing authority in Yemen is unable or unwilling to help you.

Internal Flight Alternative

[34]     Given your profile and the country conditions I find that no viable internal flight alternative exists for you in Yemen. The conflict exists throughout the country with notable divisions between the northern and southern regions. As well as pronounced sectarian divisions throughout the country. The Houthis and other armed groups are present throughout the country and the risks faced by you are not limited to any particular region in the country.

[35]     I also recall the absence of state protection for you throughout Yemen. In consideration of the country documents and your particular circumstances I find that you face a serious possibility of persecution throughout Yemen on the basis of your real or imputed political opinion and that there is no viable internal flight alternative available to you there.

Conclusion

[36]     Based on the analysis above I conclude that you a “Convention Refugees” and accordingly I accept your claim.  That concludes our hearing.

Categories
All Countries Yemen

2019 RLLR 94

Citation: 2019 RLLR 94
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: March 1, 2019
Panel: J. Kushner
Counsel for the claimant(s): Mohamed Mahdi
Country: Yemen
RPD Number: TB8-03742
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000080-000083


REASONS FOR DECISION

[1]       [XXX] claims to be a citizen of Yemen and is seeking refugee protection pursuant to sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.1

ALLEGATIONS

[2]       The claimant’s allegations are set out in his Basis of Claim form as amended and were expanded upon in testimony.2 To summarize, the claimant fears that he will be harmed or killed by Houthis because of his real and imputed anti-Houthi political opinion. The claimant’s brother has engaged in anti-Houthi journalism despite the Houthis charging the claimant with ensuring that his brother supports the Houthis.

DETERMINATION

[3]       The panel finds that the claimant has established that he faces a serious possibility of persecution in Yemen.

ANALYSIS

Identity

[4]       The claimant’s personal and national identity as a citizen of Yemen has been established on a balance of probabilities based on his testimony and a copy of his Yemeni passport.3

Credibility

[5]       On a balance of probabilities the panel accepts as credible the claimant’s testimony regarding the central allegations in this claim. The claimant provided supporting documents for some of these allegations. The claimant’s testimony was generally consistent with the documentary evidence. The claimant provided evidence regarding his most recent trip to Yemen when his brother was detained and abused by Houthis, when the claimant was ordered to ensure his brother supported the Houthis in future, and when the claimant and his brother separately fled the country. The claimant has provided corroborating evidence including letters from his wife who remains in hiding in Yemen4 and from his brother who fled to Egypt.5 The claimant’s documentary evidence supports his allegations regarding his brother’s [XXX] work criticizing Houthis, supports the claimant’s brother’s detention and mistreatment by Houthis, and supports the claimant’s forced pledge to the Houthis to ensure that his brother supported the Houthis. The claimant also provided evidence of his brother’s [XXX].6

Subjective fear

[6]       The claimant has lived in Saudi Arabia as a temporary resident for approximately 25 years though he currently has no immigration status there and has never had any permanent status there. Over the last several years the claimant has travelled to Yemen on multiple occasions. The claimant’s explanation for making repeated trips to Yemen while it was in a state of civil war is that he was on vacation, he wanted to see his family, and he did not go out often. After being targeted by the Houthis on his last trip to Yemen, the claimant later travelled to the United States of America (USA), though he did not seek asylum there. The claimant explained that Muslims are suffering under the administration of the current USA president. The claimant’s explanations do not completely mitigate the panel’s concerns regarding the lack of subjective fear evidenced by repeatedly returning to a situation where the claimant was at risk, and of not seeking asylum when he had the opportunity to do so. However, the panel finds that in the claimant’s particular circumstances the concern that remains is not determinative.

Persecution

[7]       The country conditions documents provided by the claimant,7 along with the objective evidence in the National Documentation Package (NDP),8 set out the situation in Yemen in detail. The documents are generally consistent regarding the risk faced by those who are critical of the Houthis or who are seen as having a political opinion that is against the Houthis. The Houthis control a large portion of Yemen, including the area where the claimant’s family was living. The claimant is seen as the head of a family who has repeatedly and publicly spoken out against the Houthis.9 The claimant’s family includes a journalist who has been detained, tortured, and threatened, by Houthis. The documentary evidence contains numerous reports of the Houthis engaging in violence, human rights violations, arbitrary detentions, and torture.

[8]       The objective evidence is clear that Yemen is currently dealing with a widespread armed violent conflict. It involves multiple factions including Houthi rebels, Saudi-led or Saudi­supported armed forces, as well as various extremist factions in Yemen including reports of Al­Qaeda being active in many parts of the country. There is no single central government in Yemen. The situation in the country has been described as a civil war. The evidence before the panel gives no indication that the conflict will be ending in the near future. There are reports of an increasing number of civilians being seriously affected by the ongoing conflict, including being displaced, harmed, or killed. When considering the widespread and ongoing nature of the conflict in Yemen, the panel finds that the current security situation in the country is such that there is no access to state protection nor is there a viable internal flight alternative in the claimant’s particular circumstances.

CONCLUSION

[9]       Having considered all of the available evidence the panel finds that the claimant faces a serious possibility of persecution in Yemen. The panel concludes that the claimant is a Convention refugee. The panel therefore accepts the claim.

(signed)           J. Kushner

March 1, 2019

1 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27, as amended.
2 Exhibit 2 and exhibit 12, item 1.
3 Exhibit 1.
4 Exhibit 7, item 1.
5 Exhibit 6, item 4.
6 Exhibit 6, item 7.
7 Exhibits 8-11.
8 Exhibit 3, National Documentation Package (NDP) for Yemen (31 October 2018).
9 Exhibit 7, item 2.

Categories
All Countries Yemen

2019 RLLR 81

Citation: 2019 RLLR 81
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: November 29, 2019
Panel: Harry Dortelus
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Jonathan Richard J Lage
Country: Yemen
RPD Number: MB9-05137
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000011-000014


REASONS FOR DECISION

EXPEDITED PROCESS

[1]       The Tribunal issues this decision without a hearing in accordance with paragraph 170(f) of the IRPA and the Policy on the Expedited Processing of Refugee Claims by the Refugee Protection Division.

[2]       The following is the decision related to the refugee claims of: Mr. [XXX]. He alleges that he is a citizen of Yemen and is claiming refugee protection as “Convention refugee” and as “persons in need of protection” under sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection (IRPA).

DECISION

[3]       The Tribunal concludes that the claimant is a person in need of protection under section 97 of IRPA.

ANALYSIS

[4]       The determinative issues are identity and credibility.

IDENTITY

[5]       The claimant’s name is as indicated in his Yemeni passport: [XXX].

[6]       The claimant has established his identity by means of the certified copy of his Yemeni passport which was seized by Canadian authorities when he claimed for asylum.1

[7]       The claimant lived in Saudi Arabia from 2011 until February/March 2016 according to his Generic Application Form and his Schedule A Form. He moved to the USA to Study in [XXX] or [XXX] 2016 and never had any problem in Yemen, according to his CBSA interview dated March 12, 2019. He left the U.S. to come to Canada on [XXX] 20192, to claim asylum.

Allegations

[8]       The story of this claim is as follows.

[9]       The claimant alleges that he is a citizen of Yemen but he was born and resided in Saudi Arabia and never loved or resided in Yemen. He says that he is married to a Saudi citizen but has no permanent residence in that country or citizenship. He fears of being deported to Yemen where he may be targeted by the militias, including the houthis, as an outsider.

[10]     He alleges that his relatives were assassinated in Yemen in 1974, 2013 and 2015 and he has no known relatives in Yemen. He is afraid to return to Yemen because, as a Yemeni from abroad, he could be targeted by various militias there.

[11]     In his interview with CBSA authorities, the claimant recognized that he had no personal history of persecution or harm in Yemen3.

CREDIBILITY

[12]          The claimant has established, on the balance of probabilities, that as a young Yemeni citizen who never lived or resided in that country, that he may face harm because of the ongoing civil war in Yemen.

[13]     The evidence shows that he was born in Saudi Arabia and married a Saud citizen, which does not grant him the right of citizenship in Saudi Arabia. His family also resided in Saudi Arabia and outside Yemen, which would leave the claimant vulnerable if he was to be sent to Yemen.

[14]     The documentary evidence shows that Yemen is not governed by a strong central government and various militias control several parts of the country and as a person who never lived in Yemen and carries foreign identity documents, the claimant could easily become identifiable thus a target of those militias.

[15]     Given the fact that there is no state protection and the situation is similar all over the country, the Tribunal concludes that there is a risk to the claimant’s life if he was to be sent back to Yemen.

DECISION

[16]     Therefore the claim is accepted.

(signed)           Harry Dortelus

November 29, 2019

1 Notice of Seizure of the claimant’s Yemeni passport dated March 12, 2019.
2 Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) interview dated March 12, 2019.
3 Note No. 2.