All Countries Ethiopia

2021 RLLR 105

Citation: 2021 RLLR 105
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: December 16, 2021
Panel: Kay Scorer
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Paul Vandervennen
Country: Ethiopia
RPD Number: VC1-07067
Associated RPD Number(s): N/A
ATIP Number: A-2022-01778
ATIP Pages: N/A


[1]       MEMBER: I have considered your testimony and the other evidence before me and I’m prepared to give you with my decision now.


[2]       These are the reasons for the decision in the claim of XXXX XXXX XXXX last name is spelled XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX, a citizen of Ethiopia who is claiming protection pursuant to sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[3]       In coming to this decision, I’ve considered and applied the Chairperson’s Guidelines on Women Fearing Gender-Based Persecution.


[4]       For the reasons that follow, I find that the claimant has established that she is a Convention refugee.


[5]       The claimant’s allegations are contained in full in her Basis of Claim form and narrative, which can be found in Exhibit 2.

[6]       Briefly, the claimant is a Tigray woman who fears ethnic and political persecution in Ethiopia.

[7]       The claimant’s parents have opposed the EPRDF government since they took power in Ethiopia and for the past five (5) years, the claimant’s father has been an active member of the Arena Tigray Party, ATP. The ATP advocates for a quality and freedom of the Tigray people. The claimant’s father has been involved with writing petitions to the prime minister and other high-ranking officials of the Ethiopian government and asking them to intervene in the ethnic clashes and genocide taking place in Ethiopia.

[8]       In about October 2020, the claimant’s father was arrested.

[9]       The claimant was in New York at the time, as she worked as a flight attendant for Ethiopian airways.

[10]     When she returned to Ethiopia, she attempted to see her father but was denied access. Her father was not able to speak to anybody, including to his own lawyer.

[11]     The claimant approached the Superior Court of Justice in an area called Lideta, L-I-D-E-T-A. She spoke to a man who assisted others in filing legal documents. She told him about her father’s situation and he helped her (inaudible) a very strong petition, citing the constitution, the penal code and universal conventions. The letter demanded that the police release the claimant’s father.

[12]     She then served this letter on the police station, that was holding her father and thought that it would initiate his release. Unfortunately, the day after serving this document, two (2) police officers went to the claimant’s home and told her that she was wanted for questioning. She was taken to the station, accused of helping the ATP and accused of communicating with the opposition in a diaspora, including monetary support from abroad, that she was facilitating through her work. She claim — the claimant was physically assaulted and kept detained for a few days, until she was released on bail. Immediately after that, she was scheduled to fly to Canada for work and she left just a few days later.

[13]     When she arrived in Canada, she defected from her crew, went to a shelter and immediately initiated her claim for protection.



[14]     I find the claimant’s identity as a national of Ethiopia is established, on a balance of probabilities, by her testimony and the other evidence before me, namely a copy of her Ethiopian passport, which can be found in Exhibit 1.


[15]     I find the claimant has established a nexus to the Convention grounds of race, ethnicity, gender and political opinion.

[16]     Therefore, I have decided this claim under section 96 of the Act.


[17]     The claimant benefits from the presumption that her allegations are true.

[18]     In this case, I find no reason to doubt this presumption. The claimant testified in a spontaneous and forthcoming manner and there were no material inconsistencies between her testimony and the other evidence before me.

[19]     Ultimately, I found the claimant’s testimony compelling and I believe what she has alleged.

[20]     The claimant also provided ample supporting documents to corroborate her allegations; including her work badges from XXXX XXXX; a copy of the legal petition that she served on the police station, to try and facilitate her father’s release; a copy of a letter from the XXXX XXXX, indicating that she was being fired for defecting; supporting letters corroborating the events, as outlined in the claimant’s forms; pictures of her protesting in Canada and holding anti-government signs; her bail document, confirming the requirements of release and political membership documents, corroborating her father’s political affiliations.

[21]     All of this can be found in Exhibit 4 and 5.

[22]     I have no reason to doubt the authenticity of any of these documents. I assign them significant weight, as they help establish the central elements of the claimant’s allegations.

[23]     I find the claimant has established, on a balance of probabilities, that she is a Tigrayan woman who was wanted by the Ethiopian authorities.

[24]     I find she has established that her father was an active member of an opposition party; that he was detained for a significant period of time; that the claimant was also detained when she attempted to help her father; that the claimant was accused by the authorities of using her XXXX XXXX XXXX to facilitate money transfers from the diaspora to political opponents and that the authorities have continued to date to visit the family in Ethiopia, to ask for information about her whereabouts.

WellFounded Fear of Persecution

[25]     For a claimant to be a Convention refugee, the claimant must have a well-founded fear of persecution, due to a Convention ground. The Convention grounds are race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group and political opinion.

[26]     As noted before, I find the harm the claimant fears is by reason of her ethnicity as a Tigrayan, her actual and imputed political opinion and I find that these risks are exacerbated by her gender as a woman.

[27]     I find the objective evidence before me establishes that the claimant’s fears of persecution are objectively well-founded.

[28]     The country condition evidence, which is in the NDP for Ethiopia found in Exhibit 3, supports the claimant’s allegations as follows.

[29]     At Item 4.21 of the NDP, it details the deteriorating security and human rights situation in Ethiopia. It confirms the arrest of over 9,000 people, including anti-government critics. Other reports note that since the assassinations and alleged attempting coup of June 2019, the government has openly crackdown on dissent and opposition, using the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to arrest, detain and charge people, including journalists and other political dissidents.

[30]     At Items 2.1 and 1.4, the evidence indicates that the current prime minister has introduced positive changes to the human rights climate by welcoming back political dissidents overseas and improving some press freedom and decriminalizing political opposition groups.

[31]     However, at Item 4.21, it confirms that the State continues to direct violence at actual and imputed government opponents, including through continued detention at government re-education camps, where detainees are actively enduring brainwashing.

[32]     At NDP 2.1, it confirms on the night of November 3rd, 2020, a war erupted between federal troops, including the Ethiopian defense forces and Amhara militia and the regional state of Tigray. Following the outbreak of this deadly conflict, Tigrayans living in the embattled area in Tigray and those living in other parts of Ethiopia, have become the target of severe violence, including air bombardment, drone strikes and artillery fire. Approximately 50,000 civilians have fled to neighbouring Sudan and more than 1.3 million civilians have been internally displaced. The active expelling and massacring Tigrayan civilian communities, including children, could be classified as war crimes and by some accounts, amounts to genocide. Tigrayans in other parts of the country also face ethnic profiling, mass detention, travel bans, arbitrary arrests, like the claimant herself has experienced, dismissals and forced disappearances.

[33]     In the claimant’s own evidence, in Exhibit 5, a recent U.S. news report states that “witnesses say thousands of Tigrayans are being detained and their businesses closed, in a new wave of ethnic targeting by Ethiopian authorities over the eight (8) month conflict in the Tigray region.”

[34]     Based on the totality of the evidence, including the claimant’s specific profile as a Tigray woman, who’s already come to the attention and interest of the authorities in Ethiopia, for her father’s involvement with the ATP, I find the claimant would face a serious possibility of persecution, if she were to return to Ethiopia.

State Protection and Internal Flight Alternative

[35]     There is a presumption that, unless in complete breakdown, states are capable of protecting their citizens.

[36]     However, I find the presumption in this case has been rebutted.

[37]     The agent of harm in this case is the State.

[38]     I find it would be unreasonable to request the claimant to approach the State for protection, when it’s the State who has detained her and continues to threaten her.

[39]     Accordingly, I find there is no state protection available.

[40]     I find that the presumption has been rebutted.

[41]     In addition, the authorities in Ethiopia are in control of all of their territory.

[42]     As a result, I find the claimant faces a serious possibility of persecution throughout the country.

[43]     Therefore, I find there’s no viable internal flight alternative for this claimant in all of Ethiopia.


[44]     In conclusion, I find the claimant is a Convention refugee pursuant to section 96 of the Act and I therefore accept her claim.