Citation: 2020 RLLR 75
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: March 16, 2020
Panel: Shams Alidina
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Raoul Boulakia
RPD Number: TB8-24792
Associated RPD Number(s): TB8-24829, TB8-24828, TB8-24793, TB8-24803
ATIP Number: A-2021-00800
ATIP Pages: 000100-000104
 MEMBER: Sir and madam, I have a decision for you, and these are my reasons for the decision.
 If you need the reasons, you can always ask the Refugee Board to give it to you.
 INTERPRETER: Excuse me, sir?
 MEMBER: If you need the reasons in writing, the Refugee Board can give it to you.
 [XXX], hereinafter “the claimant”, her husband, [XXX], and their children, [XXX] and [XXX], are citizens of Colombia claiming for refugee protection in Canada pursuant to sections 96, 97(l)(a), and 97(l)(b) of Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, IRPA.
 The claimant alleges that she was in a [XXX] called [XXX] that was involved in instructions in [XXX]. She had [XXX] in Bogotá, and she had a number of [XXX] belonging to her, her husband, and her daughter. Because of her profile, her office was contacted by the ELN guerrillas —
 INTERPRETER: By —
 MEMBER: By ELN guerrillas, asking for contribution to support their cause. Initially, the claimant did not provide any money to them, but after being targeted several times and fearing death, on one occasion she paid them [XXX] pesos. After the payment, she felt that ELN would stop the extortion, but the ELN did not. They continued extorting her, and finally they even targeted her daughter, who was abused physically and sexually by the ELN. And when the claimant returned to Bogotá, she was almost killed by them. Her driver was able to swing his car and was able to save her. She left Colombia despite her parents needing her, despite all the [XXX] she had, despite all the [XXX] she had, to come to Canada to seek protection.
 The claimant’s identity has been established to the satisfaction of the panel. In that the panel refers to Exhibit 1, where the panel sees the claimants’ passport copies, which indicate that all the claimants are citizens of Colombia. And the claimant testified that they do not have any status anywhere else. On a balance of probabilities, the panel finds that the claimants in this case are all citizens of Colombia.
 The determinative issues in this case are credibility and subjective fear. On that subject, the panel incorporates Counsel’s submissions in its decision regarding subjective fear. The claimant and her daughter were very emotional. Their demeanour clearly indicated their fear of the ELN guerrillas.
 Based on the evidence, which is supported by documentary evidence in Exhibit 4, the panel finds that the claimant and her husband were reasonably [XXX] people. The claimant had [XXX] of [XXX], while her husband had one, which he [XXX] prior to coming to Canada. They have several [XXX] and [XXX]. The claimant testified that she created an [XXX] for her family. She loved her country. Her parents are vulnerable — they’re still there — but her daughter has been stigmatized by what happened to her. The claimant indicated on several occasions that it was a big mistake on her part to have not left Colombia earlier, and had returned, after coming to Canada, back to Colombia. She testified that she had apologized to her family for doing what she did. And while she was in Colombia, she had a bodyguard.
 INTERPRETER: She had —
 MEMBER: Bodyguard, and a bulletproof vehicle for safety of her whole family. Her bodyguard was an [XXX], who finally told her to flee from Colombia if she wanted to save her life and lives of her family. On one occasion, the claimant testified that she had to return to Colombia because of the [XXX] situation of her son, and she provided documentary evidence to support that.
 Therefore, based on the evidence provided by the claimant as well as Counsel, the panel is satisfied that the claimant had to return to Colombia, but despite of all the [XXX] she had, she could not get any police protection. She went to Fiscalía on more than one occasion. Even after her laptop was stolen — and Counsel showed the panel the little video of that stealing — the Fiscalía could not do anything for her, and she testified she had no other alternative but to come to Canada to seek protection.
 The panel finds, based on what Counsel submitted and the claimant testified, that the claimant’s explanation about subjective fear is satisfactory. In this case, the agents of persecution are the ELN guerrillas. Given the amount of [XXX] she had, it is plausible that the ELN would be motivated to seek extortion from her.
 Insofar as credibility is concerned, the claimant was reasonably credible witness. There were some minor credibility issues, which were explained by the claimant, her daughter, and Counsel in his submissions to the satisfaction of the panel. The panel gives the benefit of doubt in this case to the claimants and accepts their story in support of the claim. This is a well-documented claim, in that it contains support documents for everything the claimant indicated, including [XXX] that she [XXX], the visits to Fiscalía, and not obtaining protection from the authorities.
 In regards to IFA, because ELN is present everywhere, the panel does not find that the claimants would have a viable internal flight alternative in Cartagena.
 And the claimant’s testimony is supported by the documentary evidence before the panel, and the panel is referring to the country conditions provided by Counsel as well as the IRB. The DOS report indicates that the most significant human rights issues included extrajudicial and unlawful killings. Reports —
 INTERPRETER: Extrajudicial and —
 MEMBER: Extrajudicial killings. The reports of torture and arbitrary detention, corruption, rape, and abuse of women and children by illegal armed groups. The panel will refer to other documentary evidence the details, that is Response to Information Request COL-106085.E. I think they know what I’m saying. And the document indicates that ELN is a leftist armed group. The ELN was involved in peace negotiations with the government, but because the ELN continued attacks, those peace negotiations were terminated, and because ELN was involved with the government in peace negotiations, and the claimant’s non-payment of Vacuna (ph) —
 INTERPRETER: And the claimant’s –
 MEMBER: Of Vacuna.
 COUNSEL: Vacuna, extortion.
 MEMBER: Extortion.
 INTERPRETER: Okay, okay.
 MEMBER: Made them an enemy of the ELN. The ELN felt that they had an opinion against the ELN for not supporting their cause, and because ELN participated in peace talks with the government of Colombia, it is regarded as a component of state machinery, and an opinion against the component of the state machinery amounts to imputed political opinion against the state machinery. And therefore, the claimants have established a nexus to the Convention ground today. The report indicates that there were 2,500 combatants in the ELN force, and the ELN operates using columns, which were called war fronts. The same document indicates that ELN retains an active presence in the country. Insofar as the activities are concerned, the same document indicates that ELN is involved in kidnapping, launching bomb attacks against police officers, attacking government targets —
 INTERPRETER: Attacking —
 MEMBER: Government targets, attacking economic infrastructure, recruiting children, using antipersonnel land mines, displacing civilians, and killing them. The same document indicates that there’s a strong incursion of the ELN in many, many areas around the country. In the first ten months of 2017, the ELN was responsible for 45 percent of the total mass displacement of people. ELN is amongst the organized armed groups that are taking advantage of the weakness of the state’s presence in the areas where the former FARC had influence. At this time, ELN has expanded its role in the drug trade after the demobilization of the FARC guerrillas. The same document indicates that it is possible that the ELN can monitor or target across Colombia.
 In regards to protection, the same document indicates that state protection available to victims of ELN was scarce, that the protection measures for people who are victims of ELN are very limited. For victims who, given their positions or their activities, may be subjected to extraordinary or extreme risk, the DOS indicates that the ELN is involved in unlawful killings, political killings, extortion, kidnapping, et cetera. [inaudible] of the evidence that is before the panel, the panel finds that the ELN is a strong leftist guerrilla group operating all over Colombia. In this case, the claimant being a wealthy person —
 INTERPRETER: In this case —
 MEMBER: A [XXX] person, did not support their cause. She became the enemy of the ELN. They targeted to kill her at one point, but she was able to escape because her driver was able to escape from the scene. They targeted her daughter —
 INTERPRETER: They —
 MEMBER: Targeted her daughter. They not only beat her up, they raped her. She testified that they had ruined her life.
 INTERPRETER: That they had —
 MEMBER: Ruined her life. Based on the totality of the evidence adduced and the country conditions, and the documentary evidence claimant provided to support her claim, panel finds that there is a serious possibility that the claimant and her children would be targeted and seriously harmed for not supporting ELN cause. And therefore, for all above reasons, the Refugee Protection Division determines that [XXX] is a Convention refugee. Because her husband’s and her children’s claims are based on her claim, their claims must succeed, too. As a result, the Refugee Protection Division determines that [XXX] and [XXX] are also Convention refugees.
 Signed by Shams Alidina, Member of Refugee Protection Division, on 16th March 2020.
 I wish to thank madam, your husband, and your children for coming today. I wish to thank Counsel for coming, and I wish to thank Counsel for providing a lot of documentary evidence. I wish to thank the interpreter for doing a fantastic job.
 The hearing is over.
 Now, madam — sorry, Counsel, I had to [inaudible]
 COUNSEL: [inaudible]
 MEMBER: I say that most of the times to Colombians.