Citation: 2022 RLLR 2
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: May 24, 2022
Panel: Douglas Cryer
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Hachem Hassan Fawaz
RPD Number: VC1-08109
Associated RPD Number(s): N/A
ATIP Number: A-2022-01960
ATIP Pages: N/A
 MEMBER: This is a decision of the Refugee Protection Division in the claim of XXXX XXXX, citizen of Lebanon and making a claim for refugee protection under section 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
 You allege the following. You owned XXXX XXXX, which were forced to close because members of Hezbollah and other religious extremist groups were accusing you of pulling women away from Islam. You did this by XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX and this is contrary to some people’s beliefs, that women should stay at home and wear the niqab when outside. On XXXX XXXX in 2021, you are at your client’s house in Beirut. You heard gunfire. You looked outside and you recognized one (1) of the members of Hezbollah who was a high-ranking official. When you called out to him, he was shocked that someone actually recognized him. He and his accomplices ran after you and fired gunshots towards you, but you are able to lock yourself and shelter in a building. 10 hours later when the clash ended, you were rescued by some police. The day following this clash, you received a threatening phone call from this Hezbollah member. He said he knew where your family was. He asked you to provide information about the people who sheltered you. He thought that you had taken a cellphone video of him. Out of fear, you did not return home, this based on the advice your father gave you. You fled to the United States before coming to Canada to make your refugee claim.
 INTERPRETER: Excuse me, sir?
 MEMBER: You fled to the United States before coming to Canada to make a refugee claim.
 This is a case where we consider the Chairperson’s gender guidelines. I did not have to make any particular application in relation to credibility. I considered the guidelines throughout.
 At the beginning, we listed the issues. Let us go through them now. Do you meet the definition of a Convention refugee or a person who is in need of protection? A Convention refugee is a person by reasons of a well-founded fear of persecution and for the following reasons. Race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or for political opinion as outside of your country of nationality, in this case, Lebanon, and that you are unable or by reason of your fear unwilling to avail yourself of the protection of the state. The definition for a person in need of protection does not apply here, so I will go over that.
 This is my decision. I find that you are a Convention refugee as you have established that you have a serious possibility of persecution if you return to Lebanon. This is based on your nexus to the Convention grounds. You belong to a particular social group, someone who fears gender-related persecution and for imputed political opinion because members of Hezbollah think that you could harm them. They think you have a video showing their violent actions.
 Next question. Have you established your identity, and do you possess acceptable documentation establishing your identity? I find that your identity as a national of Lebanon is established by your credible testimony and by the documents you provided. There is a certified photocopy of your passport in Exhibit 1.
 Is your claim credible? When you affirmed that you would tell the truth, this created a presumption that your allegations are true unless there are serious reasons to doubt their truthfulness. I had no reason to doubt your truthfulness. Your testimony today was consistent with what you wrote in your narrative. It is corroborated by documentary evidence, including letters of support from your father and your husband, especially.
 Is your fear to your return to your country well-founded? There must be both a subjective and an objective basis for your fear. What we mean by subjective fear is that your behaviour or your actions should be consistent with somebody who fears return to their country. In this case, the incident happened in Beirut and your family warned you not to return to your village. You stayed in hiding until very shortly afterwards you fled your country. These actions are consistent with somebody who would have a subjective fear of return. Is there objective evidence? The answer is yes based on your credible testimony and current country condition reports that you provided in Exhibit 4. Exhibit 3, the National Documentation Package, contains the evidence that people who fear Hezbollah, that Hezbollah has the resources to track people they are seeking. They have the ability to exercise control outside of the traditional legal system in Lebanon and they control large portions of Lebanon. This is described in Item 1.3, the Department of Foreign Affairs report for Australia and Item 7.8, which is a Response to Information Request that shows the extent and reach of Hezbollah.
 Have you provided evidence which establishes on a balance of probabilities that the authorities in your country cannot provide you with adequate protection? There is a presumption that states can protect their own citizens. This can be rebutted in a claimant’s individual circumstances. In this case, there is evidence that Hezbollah has harassed your husband and your immediate family over the months. There is evidence that the clash that you were speaking of, that there were approximately 30 people killed that day. Hezbollah has a reach and an influence that goes beyond Lebanon security forces. And like some other groups, Hezbollah has not given up their weapons. When you read these two (2) documents that I mentioned earlier, it is clear and convincing evidence that the state has an inability to protect from people who fear Hezbollah.
 Concerning the treatment of women in Lebanon, the Department of Foreign Affairs report that I referred to earlier mentions that Lebanon ranks I think 133 out of 144 for treatment of women in the world. This document summarizes that women generally face discrimination. In your own case, you face direct persecution, in that you had to shut down XXXX XXXX because religious extremists did not agree XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX. And it is obvious in your case that the police did not offer you adequate protection in this case.
 Finally, we ask the question, would it be unreasonable for you to seek refuge in a different part of your country? Although not mentioned specifically throughout the hearing, Beirut is likely the most viable place that a person could flee to and live there. This is where you faced your own persecution, so it would be unreasonable for you to relocate to Beirut. There is a two-pronged test or two (2) tests. Could you live anywhere without a serious possibility of being persecuted? Since I find that there is inadequate protection for you in Lebanon, I find that there is no viable internal flight alternative.
 These are all the reasons that make you a Convention refugee under section 96 of the Act, and these are the reasons your claim is accepted.
——— REASONS CONCLUDED ———