All Countries Yemen

2022 RLLR 7

Citation: 2022 RLLR 7
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: March 1, 2022
Panel: Kay Scorer
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Diane B. Coulthard
Country: Yemen
RPD Number: VC1-07100
Associated RPD Number(s): N/A
ATIP Number: A-2022-01960
ATIP Pages: N/A


[1]       MEMBER: I have considered all of the evidence in this case, and I am prepared to provide my decision orally. This is the decision of the Refugee Protection Division in the claim of XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX, as a citizen of Yemen who is seeking protection pursuant to section 96 and subsection 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. In coming to this decision today, and including in the hearing, I have considered and applied the Chairperson’s guideline on woman claimants fearing gender-related persecution.


[2]       The claimant’s allegations are contained in full in her Basis of Claim form and attached narrative at Exhibit 2. Summarized only briefly, the claimant is an elderly divorced female, alleging fear of persecution in Yemen due to her Sunni religion, her perceived political opinion, and membership in a particular social group, namely, her gender as a woman.


[3]       I find the claimant is a Convention refugee. I find the claimant has established a nexus to the Convention ground of membership in a particular social group, namely, her gender as a woman. Therefore, I am assessing this claim under section 96. I do note that the claimant has also alleged persecution based on her political opinion and her religion, however, I found her claim to be established on her gender alone, and have therefore only analyzed this element of her claim as a result.



[4]       I find the claimant’s identity as a national of Yemen is established based on her testimony, and also a copy of her passport, which can be found in Exhibit 1.


[5]       Pursuant to the Maldonado principle, the claimant benefits from a presumption that her allegations are true. In this case, I have no reason to doubt the truthfulness of the claimant. I note that the claimant is an uneducated elderly woman. This vulnerable profile was taken into consideration when assessing her testimony, and in questioning today. Despite some obvious barriers, she did testify in a forthcoming and emotive way that I did find to be compelling. Her Basis of Claim and narrative were detailed and materially consistent with her testimony at the hearing, and the other evidence before me. I found the claimant to be a credible witness. Further, I find that the material elements of her profile, namely her profile as an elderly woman, are corroborated by the objective evidence before me, which includes a copy of her passport. I find she has established she is a national of Yemen who fears persecution in Yemen based on her gender as a woman.

Well-founded Fear and Risk of Harm

[6]       For a claimant to be a convention refugee, the claimant must have a well-founded fear of persecution due to a Convention ground. In this case, I find the documentary evidence is clear and consistent that women in Yemen face significant pervasive discrimination that amounts to persecution. I note that in this particular case, the claimant’s vulnerabilities are further exacerbated by the fact that she is an elderly, uneducated, and divorced woman. She has no family in Yemen, and I find that this puts her at a serious risk of persecution based on her gender in that country. As noted by the report at the human rights watch at Tab 5.8 of the NDP which is in Exhibit 3, laws in Yemen require women to be obedient to their husbands. Women are generally not allowed to leave the house without permission of men. Honour killings by men of women and girls are treated very leniently by the courts, if they are prosecuted at all. As noted by the US DOS report at Tab 2.1, a male relative’s consent was often required before a woman could even be admitted to a hospital. The claimant has no male relatives in Yemen. Without even taking into consideration the ongoing conflict in which woman and children bear a heavier burden of negative consequences, the discrimination against woman and girls in Yemen is so significant and pervasive that a woman is not even able to reliably seek medical treatment or help without a man there to give her permission. The US DOS report notes that with the loss of many men from households in the conflict, this requirement for a man’s consent before women can get medical treatment means that many women are simply not receiving any medical treatment because hospitals are refusing to deal with women alone. According to the report at 5.7, gender-based violence in Yemen has risen to alarming proportions, with an estimated 90 percent of woman facing sexual harassment in public spaces. A report at Tab 2.7 by the UN Human Rights Council notes “in 2018 and 2019, new oppressive gender norms have proliferated, and women and girls are further marginalized”. Women are marginalized by both state and non-state actors, and the conditions have only worsened in recent years. I am satisfied based on the evidence before me and the remaining evidence in the NDP that the claimant will face a serious possibility of persecution as a woman if she were to return to Yemen. I find the claimant’s fears are well-founded and forward-facing.

State protection and Internal Flight Alternative

[7]       Except in situations where the state is in complete breakdown, states are presumed to be capable of protecting their citizens. The objective evidence before me indicates that all sides to the conflict in Yemen continue to commit severe human rights abuses. Given this, along with the ongoing conflict, instability, and widespread violence, I find there is no adequate or operational state protection available to the claimant in her particular circumstances, including the circumstances of being a divorced, elderly woman without male support. I find the presumption of state protection has been rebutted.

[8]       Further, I find that it is not safe nor objectively reasonable in all of the circumstances, including those particular to this claimant, to relocate anywhere in Yemen. I find the claimant faces a serious possibility of persecution through Yemen on the basis of her gender and profile as an elderly divorced woman. I also find that her gender would make internal relocation entirely unreasonable, given that women in Yemen often require permission from men to even leave their house. Accordingly, I find there is no IFA available to this claimant.


[9]       Based on the foregoing analysis, I find the claimant is a Convention refugee pursuant to section 96 of the Act, and I therefore accept her claim.