All Countries Ethiopia

2021 RLLR 99

Citation: 2021 RLLR 99
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: December 10, 2021
Panel: Zorana Dimitrijevic
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Paul Vandervennen
Country: Ethiopia
RPD Number: TC1-04234
Associated RPD Number(s): N/A
ATIP Number: A-2022-01778
ATIP Pages: N/A


[1]       MEMBER: And this is an oral decision in the claim for refugee protection put forth pursuant to Sections 96 and subsection 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in relation to the claim for XXXX XXXX XXXX file number TC1-04234.

[2]       The panel notes that the claimant indicates that he’s a citizen of Ethiopia.

[3]       The details of the claimant’s allegations are found in the Basis of Claim Form Narrative at Exhibit 2, and amendment to the Basis of Claim Form that can be found at Exhibit 6.

[4]       In summary, the claimant alleges a fear of persecution in Ethiopia at the hands of the government due to his Tigray ethnicity and imputed anti-government political opinion, due to his father’s political activism and work.

[5]       The claimant alleges that there is no State protection for him or an internal flight alternative anywhere in Ethiopia.

[6]       The panel finds that the claimant is a Convention refugee pursuant to Section 96 of the Act for the following reasons. The panel finds that there is a link between what the claimant fears and two of the five enumerated Convention grounds because of the claimant’s ethnicity as a Tigrayan and his imputed political opinion. Consequently, his claim is assessed under Section 96 of the Act.

[7]       The panel finds that, on a balance of probability, the claimant’s national and personal identity as a citizen of Ethiopia has been established by his testimony, and a copy of his Ethiopian passport and (inaudible), as well as Global Case Management System notes which can be found … all which can be found in Exhibit 1.

[8]       The panel also finds that, on a balance of probability, the claimant’s ethnicity as a Tigrayan has been established by his testimony, and a copy of his kebele card which can be found at Exhibit 5.

[9]       With respect to credibility, the panel finds that the claimant was a credible witness in relation to the central issues with his claim.

[10]     The claimant testified in a direct and sincere manner, and did not try to embellish his claim. There were no omissions, inconsistencies, or contradictions between his statements provided in the Basis of Claim Form, amendment to the Basis of Claim Form, and accompanying forms, and his testimony at the hearing in relation to the central allegations of his claim.

[11]     The claimant testified that he and his family has been exposed to political violence in Ethiopia from his early youth due to his father’s (inaudible) engagement in the Coalition for Unity and Democracy and subsequently in the Arena for Sovereignty Democracy or the Arena Tigray Party.

[12]     The claimant’s parents are Tigrayan and Amharic. His father’s ethnicity’s Tigrayan and his mother’s ethnicity’s Amharic.

[13]     The claimant’s ethnicity has been determined according to his father’s ethnicity because in Ethiopia a child is supposedly the (inaudible) background of his or her father.

[14]     The claimant’s father was arrested on XXXX XXXX XXXX 2020, (inaudible) of (inaudible) to the new Prime Minister as the coordinator of the Arena Tigray Party. Following his arrest, the claimant and his mother were threatened by the Oromo youth group Qeerroo, and subsequently by the police following the claimant’s attempts to complain to the police about the threats he and his father received.

[15]     The claimant was physically attacked by the members of Qeerroo group in December 2020. His attempts to complain to police … to complain to the police the claimant was verbally threatened to live in harmony with the Oromo, and told that Tigrayans are the enemy of the State.

[16]     Out of fear from Qeerroo and the police, the claimant relocated to his uncle in another part of Addis Ababa, and applied for Canadian student visa.

[17]     The claimant left Ethiopia with the help of his uncle who organized the claimant’s departure with the help of his friend Immigration officer at the airport. The claimant arrived to Canada XXXX XXXX XXXX2021.

[18]     The panel finds the claimant to be credible, on a balance of probabilities, on providing details about the series of events he and his family suffered in Ethiopia, and the reasons why he left Ethiopia and applied for refugee protection in Canada. The panel assigns significant weight to this part of the claimant’s testimony.

[19]     The panel also notes that the claimant provided letters of support from his mother and from his uncle, as well as from Tigrayan Association in Toronto. The letters can be found at Exhibit 5.

[20]     The claimant also provided his education credentials, and photographs of his participation in demonstrations in Canada, both of which can be also found at Exhibit 5.

[21]     The claimant testified that he discovered the Tigrayan Association in Toronto soon after his arrival in Canada in XXXX 2021, from his friend.

[22]     The claimant provided explanation for the photographs he provided to the panel regarding his attendance at the protest in July this year in Toronto in Canada that were organized against the Ethiopian … Ethiopian Government on account of the ongoing armed conflict in Ethiopia between the State Government of Tigray and the Federal Government.

[23]     After reviewing the letters and all the other documents submitted into evidence, the panel finds them to be genuine and reliable, on a balance of probabilities.

[24]     The panel further finds, after reviewing the letters from the claimant’s mother and his uncle, that they provide … provide further information on the events that unfolded following the claimant’s departure from Ethiopia. Stating that the claimant’s father is still in prison, and that his two siblings were forced to go into hiding. The panel assigns the documents full weight in assessing the claimant’s credibility as it relates to his allegations of persecution in … in Ethiopia, and of … his activities in Canada.

[25]     The panel also questioned the claimant on his reluctance to claim refugee protection when arriving to Canada in XXXX 2021, as provided in the port of entry notes from XXXX XXXX XXXX 2021, when he did not seek asylum in the border and did so only following the decision of the border officers not to allow him entry to Canada.

[26]     The claimant explained that his uncle advised him not to seek asylum before finding a lawyer, and that he was following his uncle’s advice.

[27]     The panel accepts the claimant’s explanation as reasonable and finds it to be credible, on a balance of probabilities. The panel further finds that the claimant’s reluctance to claim refugee protection before getting (inaudible) from the Canadian border officials does not impugn his credibility.

[28]     The panel finds that the claimant faces a forward-looking risk if he returns to Ethiopia based on his ethnicity and imputed political opinion. The panel is therefore satisfied that the claimant has established his subjective fear.

[29]     The panel further finds that the claimant’s fear of being deported to Ethiopia in the present circumstances is a fear that is well-founded in the objective documents.

[30]     According to sources from the National Documentation Package for Ethiopia, hereinafter the NDP or the package, which can be found at Exhibit 3, there’s, has been an escalating ethnic violence since the new Prime Minister and his appointment in 2018.

[31]     According to Item 1.5 of the NDP the security situation has deteriorated in parts of the country, and interethnic clashes have increased significantly, particularly in among other Amhara Tigray State borders. The same item provides information that anti-Tigrayan sentiment has become more overt since 2018, and hate speech against ordinary Tigrayans has increased in this time.

[32]     Counsel for the claimant provided objective evidence on the current situation in Ethiopia, and other articles that provide information on ethic profiling, arbitrary arrest, indefinite detention, and enforced disappearances of individuals of Tigrayan ethnicity, as well as mass detention of the ethnic Tigrayans during the ongoing armed conflict.

[33]     All of the new wave of mass detention in Ethiopia has not been acknowledged by State officials. The source also provides information that this practice is ongoing, and that … that hate campaign against Tigrayans has worsened. Providing further information on tens of thousand detained individuals of Tigrayan ethnicity, following the recapture of (inaudible) by forces from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

[34]     The source on page 10 of Exhibit 7 provides information that arbitrary arrest also occurred in Addis Ababa, where the panel notes the claimant is from, and those arrested are held in detention without due process.

[35]     According to the Amnesty International those detained suffered torture and the general ill-treatment in detention, while forced disappearances, according to the source that can be found on page 13 in Exhibit 7, have become a common practice in the last six months.

[36]     The source reports Tigrayans have been stopped on the streets of Addis Ababa and arrested on the spot after the security forces inspect their identification documents. Those arrested and detained are taken to unidentified locations.

[37]     According to Human Rights Watch transferred of detainees has been organized by the Intelligence Services, the police, and the military. Family members of those detained are threatened and intimidated by the security forces.

[38]     The NDP also corroborates claimant’s allegations about … by providing information on organized movement of young ethnic Oromo known as Qeerroo.

[39]     According to Item 1.8 Qeerroo’s presence in Addis Ababa is reflected in its intimidation of ethnic Amhara’s and other ethnicities, and the security forces were deemed as inefficient in curbing the violence caused by this organization.

[40]     Item 1.23 of the package describes Qeerroo as partly responsible for the Prime Minister and his appointment in 2018. (Inaudible) decree organization is not agreed on, and the Qeerroo are not in a legal opposition movement. The sources report of numerous (inaudible) activities of this group and orchestrated attacks on other non-Oromo ethnic groups in Ethiopia.

[41]     Item 4.5 of the NDP provides information that the (inaudible) side of the Qeerroo describes it as an Oromo group that struggle for freedom through democracy and self-determination rights. The central aim of the Oromo people and the Qeerroo struggle is described as the one of (inaudible) the nation and/or country that guarantees freedom, democracy, equality, and fraternity among its people.

[42]     The source further provides that Qeerroo is symbolizing both the Oromo movement and its struggle for more political freedom and for greater ethnic representation in federal structures, as well as entire generation of (inaudible) assertive Ethiopian youth.

[43]     The source further states … states that as the Oromo movement has grown in confidence in recent years, so the role of Qeerroo in orchestrating unrest has increasingly drawn the attention of officials. As well the source further provides that many dispute characterization of the group as being a terrorist organization, few doubt the underground strength of the Qeerroo that has today.

[44]     The most recent response to information request from October 4th, 2021, which is called the Situation of Different Ethnic Groups in Addis Ababa, including access to housing, employment, education, and healthcare, particularly the Amhara, Oromo, Tigrayan, among other ethnicities, and their treatment by Oromo nationalist like Qeerroo that can be found at Item 13.12 of the NDP, provides information that Addis Ababa is a multi ethnic city with population of over five million inhabitants.

[45]     While the source states that Addis Ababa is a predominantly safe city for all ethnic groups and a dynamic place for opportunity for … of the … for an increase in (inaudible) or rural migrants, it also provides information that Addis Ababa is not safe for Tigrayans who have been targeted in Addis Ababa, due to their ethnicity and the war in the Tigrayan region.

[46]     The source further provides information that Tigrayans are ethnically profiled by the city and federal authorities in the … in Addis Ababa, as well as the Tigrayans are current the most targeted people or the only group that is persecution and harassed in Addis Ababa.

[47]     The source further states that general impression is that Tigrayans are losing their citizenship rights across Ethiopia.

[48]     The panel finds that the claimant’s fear of persecution because of his imputed anti-government political opinion and his ethnicity has an objective basis and is well-founded.

[49]     Despite initial positive changes and the climate of reform after Prime Minister Abiy (inaudible) power, more recently there has been regression in the human right abuses and ethnic violence.

[50]     The claimant’s imputed political profile and Tigrayan ethnicity make it more probable that he will face persecution if he returns to Ethiopia, especially in light of the recent escalating ethnic tension and the ongoing armed conflict.

[51]     Going to the issue of State protection. The panel finds adequate State protection would not be reasonably forthcoming in this particular case. That is because the claimant fears persecution at the … at the hands of State agents.

[52]     State agents are described as regularly detaining persons arbitrarily based on their ethnicity, and being responsible for grave human rights violations currently taking place in Ethiopia.

[53]     The panel also finds that the claimant faces a serious possibility of persecution throughout … throughout Ethiopia because the consensus opinion in the documentary evidence is that the Ethiopian security forces operate with impunity throughout the country.

[54]     The panel finds, on a balance of probabilities, that a viable internal flight alternative doe not exist for the claimant in Ethiopia.

[55]     In light of the foregoing, the panel finds that the claimant is a Convention refugee and accepts his claim.

[56]     And this matter is now concluded.