Categories
All Countries Uganda

2019 RLLR 106

Citation: 2019 RLLR 106
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: October 1, 2019
Panel: Diane Hitayezu-Fall
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Micheal F Loebach
Country: Uganda
RPD Number: TB8-18931
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000161-000166


REASONS FOR DECISION

[1]       [XXX] (the claimant) claims to be a citizen of Uganda, and seeks refugee protection pursuant to sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)1.

ALLEGATIONS

[2]       The details of the claimant’s allegations are set out in his Basis of Claim (BOC) form.2 In short, the claimant alleges persecution based on his political opinion and membership in the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC); an opposition political party in Uganda.

[3]       He alleges that he was detained three times due to his political activities. He was released with conditions after each arrest, and one of the conditions was to report back to the police. He decided to flee Uganda after the third detention in [XXX] 2017, when he learned that he had been charged for inciting violence.

[4]       He arrived in Canada on [XXX] 2018 from the United States where he had a pending asylum claim.

[5]       The claimant alleges that the Ugandan government is still looking for him. He fears his life would be at risk, if he were to return to Uganda, as he still opposes the National Resistance Movement’s programs and its ways of ruling the country.

DETERMINATION

[6]       Having considered the totality of the evidence, the panel finds that the claimant is a Convention refugee as he has established a serious possibility of persecution in Uganda, based on a Convention ground, political opinion.

ANALYSIS

Identity

[7]       The panel is satisfied with the claimant’s personal identity and status as a citizen of Uganda, on a balance of probabilities.

[8]       His identity was established based on his oral testimony, a certified copy of his Ugandan passport (a copy of which is on file) seen by a border services officer and other documents from Uganda he provided, which include a birth certificate, academic documents and his marriage certificate.3

Credibility and subjective fear

[9]       The claimant’s oral testimony regarding his motives to join the FDC party, his activities and his political opinion was detailed and credible. It was supported by documents that the panel assessed and found trustworthy on a balance of probabilities.4 His knowledge of the Ugandan political sphere was commensurate to his alleged involvement in the FDC.

[10]     His testimony included his motives to join the FDC, his role within the FDC, the events that made him leave Uganda, and his current fears.

[11]     Despite this credible oral testimony, the panel noticed that the claimant submitted questionable police documents.5 These documents contain spelling errors and at least one cites the wrong section of the applicable law.6 The claimant did not offer any explanation when he was invited to comment on the flaws noted; he simply stated that the release on bond documents were handed to him by the police, and the other documents were given to his lawyer or his wife. The flaws identified on these police documents were not explained to the panel’s satisfaction. The panel finds that they are non-genuine, on a balance of probabilities and were submitted to embellish this claim.

[12]     These non-genuine documents were tendered to corroborate the claimant’s allegations that he had been detained, then released on bonds, was required to report back to the police, and that several warrants to arrest were issued against him.

[13]     The panel considered the other evidence on file regarding these allegations and found that the negative impact of the submission of these documents that the panel assessed and found non-genuine on a balance of probabilities was overcome by the claimant’s credible oral testimony and other credible evidence tendered to support the alleged dealings with the police. This other evidence included the claimant’s testimony, found to be credible, and a number of letters and affidavits which included an affidavit from the FDC lawyer who handled the claimant’s detention cases and letters from FDC leaders and that

[14]     As the claimant arrived in Canada from the US where he had a pending asylum claim, the panel had to assess if leaving the US and abandoning his claim was a sign of lack of subjective fear.

[15]     The claimant has provided a number of documents related to his US asylum claim, which indicate that the assessment of his claim was almost completed when he left the US.7 He had received a letter inviting him to clarify some elements of his claim. He explained that having heard about the unfavourable US immigration policies, he got scared to be sent back to Uganda and decided to come to Canada.

[16]     Taking into consideration the claimant’s particular circumstances and his explanation for abandoning his claim in the US and based on the understanding of the panel of the current US administration’s attitude and treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers, the panel will not draw any negative inference in regards to the claimant’s abandonment of his US claim.

[17]     Having assessed the entire evidence on record, the panel finds that, based on the oral testimony found credible and the documentary evidence found reliable, the claimant has established that he is a member of the opposition and that he left Uganda because of his political opinions. Therefore, the panel concludes that he has established a subjective fear as a person who holds opinions that do not align with the ruling party.

[18]     The panel finds that there is a connection between the fear alleged by the claimant and one of the Convention grounds, namely political opinion.

Objective Basis

[19]     The claimant’s allegations are supported by the objective documentary evidence contained in the National Documentation Package (NDP) for Uganda.8 This objective documentary evidence reports that people in the claimant’s circumstances, individuals in Uganda who express political views that do not align with the government in power, face persecution. The claimant fears to be arrested if he returns to Uganda. He has charges pending in Uganda, stemming from his past political activities with the FDC when he opposed the Government and the National Resistance Movement (NRM) policies. The objective evidence validates his fear. There is information that Ugandan authorities cite laws protecting national security to restrict criticism of government policies.9 The FDC is reported to be the strongest force in the opposition and represents the biggest challenge to President Museveni.

[20]     The United States State Department’s Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2018 included in the NDP for Uganda notes that significant human rights issues were observed, including unlawful killings and torture by security forces, harsh prison conditions, arbitrary detention, restrictions on freedom of press, expression, assembly and political participation, as well as, official corruption.10 During the period covered by this report the police arrested and detained members of the opposition.

[21]     The same report also noted that the Ugandan government was reluctant to investigate, prosecute or punish officials who committed human rights violations, whether in the security services or elsewhere in the government and impunity was a problem. The objective evidence demonstrates that the fact that President Museveni and NRM have been in power since 1986 has resulted in the intertwinement of the ruling party with the state apparatus.11

[22]     Having considered this documentary evidence in conjunction with the claimant’s allegations about his political opinion, and the consequences of having strong political opinions that oppose the ruling party’s opinions, the panel finds that the claimant has a well-founded fear and that he faces a serious possibility of persecution based on his political opinion.

STATE PROTECTION

[23]     As the agent of the persecution is the State which acts with impunity, as it transpires in the documentary evidence as discussed above, the panel finds that there is clear and convincing evidence that State protection would not be available to the claimant.

INTERNAL FLIGHT ALTERNATIVE

[24]     Likewise, as the State is the agent of persecution and is in control of all of its territory, who oppose the ruling party face persecution across Uganda. Therefore, the panel finds that there would be no place throughout the country where the claimant would not face a serious possibility of persecution due to his political opinion.

[25]     Therefore, considering both the testimony of the claimant and the documentary evidence as a whole, the panel finds that the claimant faces a serious possibility of persecution on a Convention ground, that of his political opinion.

CONCLUSION

[26]     Based on the totality of the evidence before it, the panel concludes that the claimant is a Convention refugee and therefore accepts the claim.

(signed)           Diane Hitayezu-Fall

October 1, 2019

1 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27, as amended.
2 Exhibit 2, Basis of Claim.
3 Exhibit 1; Exhibit 6, pp. 1-7.
4 Exhibit 10, pp. 1-8: Affidavit from the claimant’s wife and other friends; Exhibit 9: Affidavit from his mother and grand-mother, Exhibit 6, pp. 10-11: FDC letters and Exhibit 10, pp. 9-12: Internet pas.
5 Exhibit 6, pp. 12-14 and Exhibit 7, pp. 2-4.
6 Exhibit 6, page 19 (“Release On Bond”).
7 Exhibit 8 (14 pages) and Exhibit 9, pp. 5-6.
8 Exhibit 3, National Documentation Package (NDP) for Uganda (March 29, 2019).
9 Idem, Tab 2.1
10 Ibidem
11 Exhibit 3, Tab 4.4.

Categories
All Countries Sudan

2019 RLLR 105

Citation: 2019 RLLR 105
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: April 5, 2019
Panel: Eric Omeziri
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Howard P Eisenberg
Country: Sudan
RPD Number: TB8-14259
Associated RPD Number(s): TB8-14258, TB8-14260
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000154-000160


REASONS FOR DECISION

[1]       The principal claimant, [XXX] and her daughter [XXX], allege that they are citizens of Sudan and no other county. The principal claimant’s daughter [XXX] is a citizen of the United States. They are claiming refugee protection pursuant to section 96 and subsection 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act1 (IRPA).

[2]       The principal claimant was appointed the designated representative of the minor claimants pursuant to subsection 167(2) of the IRPA.

ALLEGATIONS

[3]       The details of the claimants’ allegations are fully set out in the principal claimant’s Basis of Claim (BOC) form.2 To summarize, the principal claimant alleges a fear of persecution in Sudan based on her anti-government political opinion.

[4]       The principal claimant alleges past persecution at the hands of the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), who have arrested her on multiple occasions due to her activities in opposition of the ruling government and in support of the Nubian people.

[5]       The principal claimant remained active in Sudanese politics after relocating to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt in 2013 and 2016, respectively.

[6]       During a 2017 visit to Sudan, the principal claimant was arrested, detained for several days and physically mistreated due to her prior political activity. With the assistance of an individual within the Sudanese police, the principal claimant escaped Sudan for Egypt. Fearing that she may be returned to Sudan, as her status in Egypt was temporary, in [XXX] 2018, the principal claimant travelled to Canada via the United States (US) to seek refugee protection.

[7]       In addition to the claimants’ fear of persecution at the hands of Sudanese authorities. The claimants also fear that the female claimant’s family would force her daughters to undergo female genital mutilation if they were to return to Sudan. The panel makes no finding on this issue due to the disposition of the claim based on political opinion.

DETERMINATION

[8]       Having considered the totality of the evidence, the panel finds that the principal claimant and her dependent daughter, [XXX] are Convention refugees pursuant to section 96 of the IRPA. The principal claimant faces a serious possibility of persecution in Sudan based on her political opinion, while the dependent claimant has a derivative risk of persecution based on her membership in a particular social group-that of family member of the principal claimant.

[9]       The panel also finds that the principal claimant’s youngest daughter, [XXX], has not established that she faces a serious possibility of persecution under the Convention, nor has she established that, on a balance of probabilities, she would personally be exposed to a risk of torture, to a risk to her life, or to a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment if she were to return to the US.

ANALYSIS

Identity

[10]     With respect to the principal claimant and her eldest daughter’s personal identities, the panel finds that on a balance of probabilities, their identities as a citizens of Sudan have been established by their passports and the principal claimant’s testimony.

[11]     Likewise, the personal identity of the principal claimant’s youngest daughter, has also been established, on balance, and the panel finds that her identity as a US citizen has been established by her passport and the principal claimant’s testimony.

Credibility

[12]     Overall, the claimants were found to be credible. The principal claimant provided testimony which was consistent and included spontaneous details not included in the Basis of Claim form.

[13]     The principal claimant’s testimony did not contradict the declarations within the Basis of Claim form and there were no significant inconsistencies or omissions.

[14]     The principal claimant provided credible testimony with respect to her anti-government political activity on behalf of the Nubian community, which began while she was attending high school in Sudan. She further detailed how she continued to advocate publicly for Nubian causes, protesting against dam building in the Nubian region, raising money for the anti-dam committee, participating in committee meetings, as well as participating in Nubian cultural activities and awareness campaigns.

[15]     The principal claimant’s anti-government political activity made her the subject of repeated arbitrary arrests and extra-judicial detention by the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS). The principal claimant provided credible testimony regarding the events leading up to her arrests, her experience in detention, as well as her activities following her release.

[16]     The panel has also considered the principal claimant’s testimony regarding her political activity online and since arriving in Canada. The principal claimant provided convincing testimony regarding her participation in anti-government protests in Toronto and St. Catharines, Ontario in late 2018. The principal claimant also provided testimony about her anti-government activity online and, using her mobile phone, she was able to spontaneously show the panel that she was subscribed to an anti-government message group on WhatsApp.

[17]     In addition to the principal claimant’s credible testimony, the claimants also provided supporting documents which I found to be credible, they include:

a.         Letter of support from the Secretary General of the Nubian House in Abu Dhabi

b.         Letter of support from the Anti-dam youth committee of Dal and Kajbar Dams

c.         Letters of support from friends and family which corroborate the claimants’ allegations

d.         Photographs of the principal claimant’s participation in anti-government protests in Canada

[18]     As such, the panel finds that, on a balance of probabilities, the claimants have established that the principal claimant has a subjective fear of persecution due to her anti-government political opinion.

Nexus Section 96

[19]     The panel finds that there is a link between the principal claimant’s fear of persecution and the Convention grounds, specifically that the principal claimant has been persecuted by the Sudanese Government because of her anti-government political opinion, therefore this claim has been assessed under Section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Objective Basis

[20]     The evidence before the panel establishes, on a balance of probabilities, an objective basis for the claimant’s fear of persecution. Item 1.4 of the National Documentation Package for Sudan states that the NISS is responsible for the management of operations for national security, and under Sudanese law individuals suspected of a threat to the State may be detained by the NISS indefinitely.

[21]     The same law provides NISS officials with impunity for acts involving their official duties and that its current human rights violations have reached unprecedented levels. The objective documentary evidence also cites examples of the NISS using excessive and sometimes lethal force in breaking up demonstrations, protests, and rallies as well as conducting raids and confiscations.

[22]     The NISS arbitrarily arrests and detains Sudanese citizens, often detaining these individuals for a few days before releasing them without charge. The Sudanese government often targets political opponents and suspected rebel supporters and the NDP also makes reference to several reports of individuals being detained for their actual or assumed political or anti­ government political opinion.

[23]     The panel has also considered the risk to the principal claimant’s Sudanese child. The NDP for Sudan provides evidence of the targeting of family members of political opponents. Item 1.7 describes the situation of the brother of [XXX] – a noted Darfuri Sudanese Human Rights Defender-who was kidnapped in Khartoum by members of the NISS and taken to a deserted location in Khartoum, and beaten and subsequently released.

[24]     Item 2.1 of the NDP also make reference to numerous reports of violence by Sudanese government authorities against the family members of Darfuri student activists.

[25]     Therefore, I find that the principal claimant’s Sudanese born child has a risk of persecution based on the membership in a particular social group, that of a family member of the principal claimant.

[26]     The panel has considered the documentary evidence in conjunction with the principal claimant’s credible allegations about her identity as an individual with an anti-government political opinion. Having considered these factors, the panel finds that the principal claimant and her eldest daughter do have a well-founded fear of persecution.

State Protection

[27]     As the agent of persecution is the State which, as mentioned above, does act with impunity, the panel finds that there is clear and convincing evidence that adequate State protection would not be available to the claimant.

Internal Flight Alternative

[28]     Likewise, since the Sudanese government is in control of the entirety of the country, the panel finds that there would be no safe place for the claimants throughout the country and that there is no viable internal flight alternative for the claimants anywhere in Sudan.

CONCLUSION

[29]     Based on the totality of the evidence before it, the panel concludes that the principal claimant, [XXX], and her daughter, [XXX], are Convention refugees and accepts their claim.

[30]     The minor claimant, [XXX], has not established she faces a serious possibility of persecution in the US and is not a person in need of protection without recourse to state protection. The panel must find the minor claimant is not a Convention refugee under section 96 or person in need of protection, under section 97(1) of the IRPA and rejects her claim.

(signed)           E. Omeziri

April 5, 2019

1 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), sc, 2001, c 27, as amended.
2 Exhibit 2, BOC.

Categories
All Countries Cameroon

2019 RLLR 104

Citation: 2019 RLLR 104
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: November 22, 2019
Panel: Diane Hitayezu-Fall
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Denis Onek Olwedo
Country: Cameroon
RPD Number: TB8-11840
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000150-000153


DECISION

[1]       MEMBER: So, I have considered your testimony and the other evidence before me in this case and I’m ready to render my decision orally. So, this is a decision for the claim made by [XXX]. The file number is TB811840. The decision is rendered today, November 22nd, 2019. So, you were claiming to be a citizen of Cameroon and you are claiming refugee protection under Sections 96 and 97 of the Immigration and Refugee Act. So, my-, I have found you to be a refugee for the following reasons.

[2]       The details of your claim can be found in your Basis of Claim Form that is in Exhibit 2 and you allege that you are an Anglophone Cameroonian. You were born and you grew up in the Anglophone region in Kumba. You allege that you are a member of the Southern Cameroons National Counsel, SCNC. You allege that you have been a member since September 2009 and that because of your membership in the SCNC and your political activities, you have been mistreated by the government agents.

[3]       You allege that your life would be at risk if you were to return to Cameroon. And you allege that the-, the government agents who have mistreated you in the past and have been mistreating members of the SCNC will arrest you, detain you, torture you or even kill you. So, as I said, I found you, that you are Convention refugee, as you have established a serious possibility of persecution on account of your political opinion and political activities.

[4]       In terms of identity, I find that your identity is established by your testimony and the supporting documentation you have provided, which include, ele-, p-, Republic of Cameroon passport which is in Exhibit 1, document we received IRCC and your acad-, your academic documents in Exhibit 5. I find that your personal identity and the National, your National identity have been established as a commun-, a citizen of Cameroon. I assessed your credibility and I find-, I found you to be credible, you have been a credible witness and I believe what you have alleged in support of your claim.

[5]       You testified in a straight forward manner and you answered directly the questions. At the end of the hearing, there were no unexplained omissions. And I note, I did not note any contradictions between what your declared in your BOC, Basis of Claim and other forms in your testimony today. I noted, some mistakes on your documents, on the documents you submitted, spelling mistakes in the French portions of your document. I asked you about it and you could not explain how it happened. You only indicated that, it happened. However, I considered your oral testimony that was oral-, overall, candid, spontaneous and detailed. And it was detailed in all aspects of the claim, your passion, your activities as a member of SCNC and your activities in Canada. And I found that, the mistakes on the document would not overweigh your other portions of test-, testimony in the other documents you have provided.

[6]       So, in support of your allegations you have provided a number of documents that support your allegations. For your membership in SCNC, you provided your membership card that you obtained in September 2009 and then attestation of membership from SCNC dated October 30th, 2019. You have provided some letters from members who attest of your membership. Some SCNC leaders provided letter of supports, attesting that you attended meetings and that they knew about your arrest, detentions and your escape. I- it would not the-, in Exhibit 5, page 13 to 17 you provided letters from [XXX] and [XXX] and other people. And with respect to your detention and mistreaten-, mistreaten-, mistreatment in detention, you provided medical note from the hospital that treated you on two occasions after being mistreated in detention. And there are-, those are notes from the, is it [XXX], in Exhibit 5, 6-, pages 16 and 17. You also provided police documents, the bail bonds from 2010 to 2014, you have provide-, provided copies of your, the warrants for your arrest and the convocation to the police.

[7]       I have also the letter from the organization that helped with your release from detention on two occasions, the Human Rights Defence Group that helps SCNC members. After reviewing all this evidence in front of me, I have accepted what you have arranged in your BOC. And I find that you have established a subjective fear based on your political opinion and political activities.

[8]       So, I looked at the objective evidence and I found that the National Documentation Package for Cameroon, May 31st, 2019, contain information that supports your allegations, that as Anglophone and as somebody who is a member of SCNC and has been identified as an anro-, Anglophone who participates in the protest asking for equal rights for Anglophone, you would be persecuted in Cameroon. The objective evidence indicates that there continue to be reports of arrests and disappearances of individuals by security forces, particularly in the Anglophone regions. The National Documentation Package on Cameroon contains many reports on-, on Human Rights that describes the situation and the crisis in those Anglophone regions, item 2.1, 2.2, 2.5. I have other documents, many documents in Items 1-, in Section 1 and Section 4 and those reports, report serious human violation, abuses of civilians by government forces and sometimes Anglophone separatists. And regarding (inaudible) disappearances and people are detained, they are not allowed to contact their families and friends and they are denied access to legal representation and some are detained in an undisclosed location.

[9]       I noted that the Item 2.(inaudible ), the human rights issues highlighted in 2018, in the report for 2018 by the United States Department of States, on Cameroon include the prolonged arbitrary detention of suspected Anglophone separatists by security forces, harsh and life-threatening prison conditions. You testified about, what you endured during the detention and the issue may-, another issue mentioned in this report is that Anglophone Cameroonians are restricted in the rights to freedom of assembly, their freedom to express their political opinion and that the government has arrested, charged and killed in recent years, those who attempted to do so. I have a response to information request that, that tells us that Anglophone regions are located in the North-West, South-West Cameroon, when from. And then, it says that Anglophone are subjected to a policy of ongoing discrimination and they’re all often denied the right to use their language. They are subjected to-, to French legal and education system against their wish. And you have testify-, testified about your experiences in Cameroon, with having to do exams in a-, in French.

[10]     And the, there’s another document in, our response to information request, Item 13.2 and it refers to people living in the diaspora. And they are-, the government accuses them to instigate the war in Cameroon. And they, I know that Canada is involved with the countries name where Cameroonian’s have been sending money, accused of sending money to-, to Cameroon. And this, the documentation in the National Documentation Package says that, anyone is who is vocal will risk-, will be at risk if they go back to Cameroon, they risk to be arrested. Some are arrested at the airport, they-, they are detained and sometimes they would have to bribe, to get out. So, given that you have established by your testimony and the-, the supporting document that you have, come to the attention of the government of Cameroon as a person interested in Anglophone’s cause, you have been detained, interrogated. I find that your-, your fear of persecution is objectively founded. I found that, I find that you, the fear you express is well-founded and you have established that there is a serious possibility of persecution based on an imputed in your-, based on a political opinion.

[11]     I had to verify if state protection would be available to you if you had to go to Cameroon. And I looked at evidence before me and I found that adequate state protection would not be reasonably forthcoming in your particular case. Based on the information on file and given that-, given that the authority in Cameroon, the authorities are your agent of persecution, I find that it is objective-, objectively unreasonable for you to seek protection from the authorities in Cameroon. I find, that I have clear and convincing evidence before me in the objective evidence, as discussed. And I find that there is no adequate state protection available for you in Cameroon. I also, had to verify if you could relocate in Cameroon and I considered whether a viable internal flight alternative exists for you, but on the evidence before me, I find that there is a serious possibility of per-, persecution throughout Cameroon. There-, there are-, there are warrants to arrest you, so it is reasonable to believe that they may be executed anywhere in Cameroon. There is nothing the documentary evidence, that to indicate that Cameroon does not control its territory. I find that there is no internal alternative for you a place in Cameroon where you could express your political opinion without fear of persecution.

[12]     So, in conclusion I find that you are a Convention refugee and I, therefore, accept your claim.

———- REASONS CONCLUDED ———-

Categories
All Countries Eritrea

2019 RLLR 103

Citation: 2019 RLLR 103
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: October 23, 2019
Panel: M. Dookun
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Esther Lexchin
Country: Eritrea
RPD Number: TB8-09739
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000145-000149


REASONS FOR DECISION

[1]       [XXX] (the claimant) is a 51-year old male citizen of Eritrea. He is seeking refugee protection pursuant to sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.1

ALLEGATIONS

[2]       The specific details of this claim are set out in the claimant’s Basis of Claim (BOC) form2. In short, he fears persecution at the hands of the Eritrean government based on his Islamic religion and his objection to forced military conscription of himself and his children in Eritrea. He also fears repercussions from the Eritrean government for having made a refugee claim against Eritrea in Canada.

DETERMINATION

[3]       The panel has determined that the claimant is a Convention refugee pursuant to section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

ANALYSIS

Identity

[4]       The claimant established his personal identity by way of the certified true copy of his Eritrean passport3.

Credibility

[5]       The claimant testified in a straightforward manner. He made no apparent attempts to embellish his testimony. There were no serious inconsistencies or contradictions inherent in his testimony. The panel has no serious reason to doubt that the sworn testimony of this claimant was truthful.

Well-Foundedness of Fear

Refugee Claim in Canada

[6]       The panel finds on a balance of probabilities that there is less than a mere possibility that the Eritrea government would know that the claimant made a refugee claim in Canada if he returned to Eritrea voluntarily due to the fact that he left Eritrea legally. The claimant testified that he enters and exits Eritrea regularly. He stated that the Eritrean government believes that he is a resident of Sudan who visits Eritrea voluntarily. That being so, he has never had problems entering Eritrea in the past. The panel finds that there is less than a mere possibility that the Eritrean authorities would question the claimant upon entry regarding whether or not he made a refugee claim in Canada.

Religion

[7]       The panel finds there is less than a mere possibility that this claimant would face persecution in Eritrea because of his Muslim religion. The claimant testified that there is no difference between the religion he practises and the state-sanctioned Islamic religion in Eritrea. The claimant was asked whether he had any problems practicing his religion while in Eritrea. He responded that he had no problems that related to him specifically. He was then asked what kind of problems he thought he would have if he returned to Eritrea now. He responded that he did not believe that there would be issues because of his specific beliefs. The panel thus finds based on the claimant’s own testimony that he would not face problems in Eritrea based on his religion.

Military Objection

[8]       That being said, the panel does find that the claimant could face problems in Eritrea because of his objection to military service. The documentary evidence4 states that by law all Eritrean citizens between ages 18 to 50 must perform national service. The claimant, at 51 years old, is past that age range. In addition, he has already performed and completed his mandatory military service.

[9]       However, in 2012 the Eritrean government created the “People’s Army”. The People’s Army is composed of citizens released from the national service as part of their open-ended national service. Eritreans up to 70 years of age can be conscripted into the People’s Army. Those who ignore the People’s Army conscription notices may face imprisonment.5

[10]     The claimant stated that he is opposed to carrying arms and opposed to serving the Eritrean regime in any manner. His refusal to cooperate may be seen as having a political opinion contrary to the Eritrean Government. This would place the claimant at risk should he return to Eritrea.

State Protection and Internal Flight Alternative

[11]     The panel finds that as the state authorities are the agents of persecution, there would be no state protection available to this claimant anywhere in Eritrea should he return. For the same reason, the panel also finds that there is no viable internal flight alternative available to this particular claimant anywhere in Eritrea.

CONCLUSION

[12]     To conclude, the panel finds on a balance of probabilities, based on his objection to military service, that the claimant has a well-founded fear of persecution in Eritrea based on his political opinion. As such the panel finds that the claimant is a Convention refugee pursuant to section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The Refugee Protection Division accepts this claim.

(signed)           M. Dookun

October 23, 2019

1 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), S.C. 2001, c.27 as amended.
2 Exhibit 2.
3 Exhibit 1 and Exhibit 7.
4 Exhibit 3, item 2.1.
5 Exhibit 5, page 53.

Categories
All Countries Uganda

2019 RLLR 102

Citation: 2019 RLLR 102
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: January 7, 2019
Panel: S. Charow
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Denis Onek Olwedo
Country: Uganda
RPD Number: TB8-08518
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000139-000144


DECISION

[1]       MEMBER: This is the decision for [XXX], File TB8-08518. I have considered your testimony and the other evidence in this case and I am ready to render my decision orally. I would also add that I have also considered the guidelines relating to gender.

[2]       You are claiming to be a citizen of Uganda and are claiming refugee protection pursuant to Section 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[3]       I find that you are a Convention refugee for the following reasons.

[4]       The allegations of your claim can be found in your Basis of Claim Form at Exhibit 2 and the subsequent amendment at Exhibit 6.

[5]       In short, you alleged persecution as a member of a particular social group, namely that you are in danger of being harmed because of your gender as you have suffered domestic violence at the hands of your husband since about 2011.

[6]       You fear that your husband would harm you or kill you should you return to Uganda and that the police cannot protect you.

[7]       You believe that your husband could locate you anywhere in Uganda as he has influence over the police and people in the army due to his position with an AIDS organisation in Entebbe.

[8]       You allege that he became friends with high-ranking AIDS patients he counselled and did favours for them, causing them to owe him favours as well as any favours that they may do for him because of their friendship.

[9]       Your personal identity as a citizen of Uganda has been established by your testimony and the supporting document filed in Exhibit 1, namely your Ugandan passport. I find that on a balance of probabilities identity and country of reference have been established.

[10]     In terms of your general credibility, I found you to be a fairly credible witness. I therefore accept what you have alleged in your oral testimony and in your Basis of Claim Form.

[11]     I did find that there were some issues with your testimony. You testified that these high-ranking officials from the police or the military had come to your home; however, this information was not contained in your Basis of Claim Form.

[12]     When I put that omission to you, you said that you were trying to narrow down the story and that you want to file amendments, but you didn’t have enough time to file an amendment to your Basis of Claim Form.

[13]     I also noticed that you had described fleeing to your mother’s home, and that when your husband came to take you back to Entebbe, he came with men from the army. The fact that he brought army men with him was not included in your Basis of Claim Form.

[14]     When I put that omission to you, you said as you mentioned before you had wanted to put it in your amendment, that you knew you had left out important information, but were trying to narrow down the story.

[15]     When I am considering your explanations for these omissions, I do note that you are well educated, you have a university degree, and that you had the benefit of counsel both at the hearing but also when completing your Basis of Claim Form.

[16]     Additionally, I note that you actually have submitted an addendum to your Basis of Claim Form at Exhibit 6.

[17]     So, with these factors considered together, I find that the answers that you gave for these omissions have not adequately explained the identified omissions, and I make that finding even when considering your diagnosis of stressor-related disorder. I reference Exhibit 5, page 28.

[18]     As such, I do draw a negative inference about your credibility from each omission. However, I find that the other credible evidence including other lines of testimony and your supporting documentation outweighs the concerns I have that stem out of these omissions.

[19]     I find that when you were discussing the abuse that you had suffered, you were very credible. You described in detail the abuse you suffered at the hands of your husband over the course of your marriage. You also provided extensive documentation to support your claim.

[20]     I note the existence of identity documents and medical documentation for your children, which does show the name of your husband as their father. I am satisfied therefore that you had a relationship with this man.

[21]     I also note affidavits from your mother and from your aunt and from your landlady, and these people talked about what they personally witnessed and how they personally helped you, and these affidavits are consistent with your allegations, they are detailed and they speak to each of the individual experience in regards to your allegations.

[22]     I also see a support letter from your sister, which again is consistent and detailed.  I see a letter from your divorce attorney where you had described trying to get a legal divorce in Uganda so that maybe your husband will stop bothering your family.

[23]     As well, I see a police report from Kampala, and although I did have some concerns because they said that they are looking for your husband, you said today that the police are not helping at all, you explained that even if nothing is being done by the police, they would still say that the investigation is ongoing, and that is indeed consistent with other evidence that we have in the National Documentation Package at Exhibit 3, which talks about the general lack of effectiveness of the Ugandan police, specifically when it comes to domestic violence issues, as I will discuss in a bit.

[24]     I also note an affidavit from your uncle and a letter from your father, again consistent, detailed and specific to what they personally witnessed or experienced.

[25]     When considering all of that and your credible testimony, I am satisfied that the events have occurred as alleged, that you would face persecution at the hands of your husband or his friends in the military or police should you return to Uganda. I find that you have established your subjective fear.

[26]     I find that there is a link between what you fear and one of the five Convention grounds, specifically as a Ugandan woman who is at risk of domestic violence, you are a member of a particular social group because of your gender.

[27]     Therefore, your claim has been assessed under Section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[28]     I further find that you have an objective basis for your fear because of the documented conditions for Uganda as found in the National Documentation Package at Exhibit 3.

[29]     I note Item 2.1 which states that gender-based violence was common. It was recorded that in 2016, there were 163 deaths of women due to domestic violence, which was almost a 50% increase over 6 years.

[30]     I also note Item 5.5, which states that 56% of women aged 15 through 49 had experienced physical violence at least once since age 15. One of the factors behind these high prevalence rates is the widespread cultural acceptance of such violence.

[31]     The same survey found that wife battering is widely accepted, with 58% of women and 44% of men believing that it’s justified for a man to beat his wife for specified reasons.

[32]     When considering this, I find that your subjective fear has an objective basis. I find that you have a well-founded fear of persecution due to your gender.

[33]     I find that State protection would not be reasonably forthcoming in this case as per the evidence already discussed.

[34]     I also note that in Item 5.2 of the National Documentation Package at Exhibit 3, they talk about reasons why only a small percentage of victims of violence go to the police, and some of those reasons include apathetic attitudes among police officers towards domestic violence as well as the high cost associated with accessing police services and the desire by victims to keep families together.

[35]     The same study also notes that gender-based violence is perceived as a private matter and that legal redress could compromise the livelihood of the victims.

[36]     The same report also notes that gaps still exists in terms of State protection due to a lack of professionalism of law enforcement organisations, especially the police.

[37]     In terms of an internal flight alternative, you have alleged that your husband has friends that are high-ranking officials in both the army and the military.

[38]     You alleged that he developed these friendships because he was these people’s AIDS counsellor and would do them favours by ensuring that they could pick up their medication from your home instead of risking the stigma of members of the public finding out their AIDS status.

[39]     You testified that you saw them come to your home on multiple occasions to pick up their medication and that you also saw them as the years progressed become friends with your husband as they would stay and have drinks.

[40]     The fact that he has access to people in the military or the police is supported by the documents that you filed.

[41]     Various family members and your landlady in their affidavits or letter stated that men in uniforms would come and enquire about you on your husband’s behalf. These people also affirmed or wrote that they had been harassed and arrested by members of the police. I refer to Exhibits 5 and 7.

[42]     You have also alleged that should you relocate within Uganda, you would have to register with the local council, which is consistent with the documentary evidence in the National Documentation Package at Exhibit 3. On this matter, I find both your testimony and your written evidence to be credible.

[43]     Accordingly, when considering the mandatory registration upon relocation, in combination with the established police and military connections of your agent of persecution, your husband, I find that on a balance of probabilities there is more than a mere possibility of persecution for you anywhere in Uganda as there is more than a mere possibility that your husband could find you if you had relocated or would relocate in the future and that he has been making ongoing efforts to find you.

[44]     As the test for an internal flight alternative fails on the first prong, I find that there is no reasonable internal flight alternative for you anywhere in Uganda.

[45]     Based on the totality of the evidence, I find the claimant to be a Convention refugee. Your claim is therefore accepted.

[46]     So, this will conclude today’s hearing. I would like to thank everyone for their participation.

[47]     Thank you, madam interpreter.

[48]     INTERPRETER: Welcome.

[49]     MEMBER: Thank you, counsel.

[50]     COUNSEL: Thank you, madam member.

[51]     MEMBER: Thank you, ma’ am.

[52]     CLAIMANT: Thank you, ma’ am.

———- REASONS CONCLUDED ———-

Categories
All Countries Egypt

2019 RLLR 101

Citation: 2019 RLLR 101
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: August 8, 2019
Panel: C. Ruthven
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Zainab Jamal
Country: Egypt
RPD Number: TB8-08556
Associated RPD Number(s): TB8-08567
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000130-000138


REASONS FOR DECISION

[1]       These reasons and decision are in regards to the claims for protection made by [XXX] (principal claimant), [XXX] (elder female claimant), [XXX] (younger female claimant), and [XXX] (minor claimant).

[2]       Each is claiming protection pursuant to section 96 and subsection 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.1 The panel heard the claims jointly, pursuant to Refugee Protection Division Rule 55.2

[3]       The principal claimant was the designated representative for the minor claimant.

ALLEGATIONS

[4]       The principal claimant’s full allegations are set out in his Basis of Claim Form, and related narrative.3 The two female claimants and the minor claimant each rely on the narrative of the principal claimant. All four claimants have practiced the Coptic Orthodox Christian faith from birth.

[5]       Each claimant fears the religious extremists in Egypt, based on a number of cumulative reasons, which relate to the practice of their faith. The principal claimant was anointed as a deacon in 2000. He has practiced his faith in Egypt, in the United Arab Emirates, and in Canada.

[6]       During his residence in Egypt, the principal claimant faced discrimination from those who discovered his Christian faith. He faced problems such as unfair academic treatment from the university authorities during his studies at [XXX], and later was the victim of threats from would-be customers and assaults at the hands of Muslim extremists in the medical and pharmaceutical industries.

[7]       All four claimants also faced long-term threats of violence associated with attending their Coptic Orthodox Christian church in Egypt. The principal claimant was assaulted on several occasions when he departed his church late at night, and the younger female claimant faced harassment in Egypt because she did not wear a traditional Muslim head covering. She was physically assaulted on many occasions, including one incident where her hair was cut with scissors on the subway.

[8]       Subsequent to a physical assault outside church on February 18, 2018, where the younger female claimant was pushed to the ground during her pregnancy, the claimants decided to depart Egypt permanently. On [XXX], 2018, the claimants departed Egypt, and made their claims for protection in Canada the following month.

DETERMINATION

[9]       The panel finds that the four claimants are Convention refugees, pursuant to section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, based on the persecution they face in Egypt due to the practice of their Coptic Orthodox Christian religion.

Identity

[10]     The panel finds that the four claimants have each established their identity as nationals of Egypt, based on a balance of probabilities. Each of the four claimants presented a valid Arab Republic of Egypt passport.4 The panel finds no reason to doubt the authenticity of any of these four documents.

Credibility

[11]     The panel finds that the principal claimant testified at the hearing in straightforward and consistent manner, without the use of embellishments.

[12]     The panel finds that there are both cumulative factors, and immediate factors, which caused the four claimants to depart Egypt on [XXX], 2018.5 The panel further finds that these factors all directly, or indirectly, relate to the practice of their Coptic Orthodox Christian faith.

[13]     The principal claimant testified coherently about his service to the Coptic Orthodox community in Egypt, including being an [XXX] in his village (talking about The Bible and bringing food and drink to poor families). The panel finds that this testimony was spontaneous, rich in personal details, and relevant to the corroboration of his faith.

[14]     In addition to the testimony provided regarding the Coptic Orthodox Christian faith of the four claimants, the claimants also presented a series of corroborating documents sourced to individuals and organizations in Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Canada.

Membership and Participation in the Coptic Orthodox Church

[15]     The claimants presented an August 9, 2017 letter of support from the [XXX] confirmed that the principal claimant served as [XXX] to the church in Zagazig. [XXX] confirmed that the elder female claimant also attended liturgy and spiritual meetings at the parish in Zagazig.6

[16]     Similarly, [XXX] confirmed that the younger female claimant attended [XXX] in Giza, prior to her relocation to the United Arab Emirates.7

[17]     In regards to parish attendance during their residence in the United Arab Emirates, the claimant presented an undated letter from [XXX] of the [XXX] in Sharjah.8

[18]     The panel gave each of four letters lesser probative value, as none of the respective authors specified a timeframe for the service of the three adult claimants to their respective parishes in Egypt or the United Arab Emirates. Despite this, the panel notes that some religious background was established.

[19]     The [XXX] Coptic Orthodox Church in Oakville, Ontario presented two undated letters of support signed by [XXX], which (read together) confirmed the participation of all four claimants at their parish for a period of seven months.9

[20]     In addition to the above-mentioned direct involvement with the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt, there were also several secondary documents presented which the panel finds corroborate a long-term practice of Christianity for the claimants and their family members in Egypt.

[21]     These documents include the presented Birth Certificate for the principal claimant and the younger female claimant,10 the Birth Certificate for the minor claimant,11 the Certificate of Baptism presented for all four claimants,12 the presented Confirmation of a Marriage Contract for the principal claimant and the younger female claimant,13 the Death Record for the elder female claimant’s spouse,14 and each Egypt Personal Identification Card (for the three adult claimants).15

[22]     The panel also notes the twenty-one presented photographs which depicted attendance at places of Christian worship for the claimants. Although not labelled or dated, the panel considered these photographs in conjunction with the principal claimant’s testimony, the presented letters of support, and the presented corroborating evidence related to the practice of the Coptic Orthodox faith by each of the four claimants.

[23]     Based on the testimony of the principal claimant, and in consideration of the corroborating evidence presented by the four claimants,16 the panel finds that all four claimants have established a subjective fear of returning to Egypt, based on the practice of their Coptic Orthodox Christian faith.

Objective Basis of the Claims

[24]     The panel finds that the overall objective evidence supports the four claims for Convention refugee protection.

[25]     The elder female claimant has only resided in Zagazig, Sharkia (when she was a resident of Egypt). This residential history included seven short periods between 2013 and 2018, in addition to the longer period of September 1990 to May 2013.17 Similarly, the principal claimant resided in Zagazig from September 1990 to May 2011, and then again from February 2018 to March 2018.18

[26]     The younger female claimant resided in El Doukki, Giza from May 1987 to June 2010.19 After she was married,20 she resided with the principal claimant and the elder female claimant in Zagazig from February 2018 to March 2018.21

[27]     The principal claimant has a maternal aunt who resides in Egypt.22 He testified that he keeps in communication with the wife of his brother, who resides in Zagazig. The younger adult female claimant only has her younger brother, as a family member in Egypt.23

Religious Profile of Egypt

[28]     Coptic Christians are a minority in Egypt but still constitute the largest single Christian community in the Middle East. The government estimates there are about five million Coptic Christians in Egypt, but the Coptic Orthodox Church estimates that there are between fifteen to eighteen million adherents in Egypt.24

[29]     Muslims and Christians live together in all parts of Egypt; however, there are larger concentrations of Christians in southern Egypt, especially in the governorates of Minia, Assiut, and Sohag, as well as in the big cities of Alexandria and Cairo. Christians are fewer in number in the Delta.25 There are suburbs in Cairo, other cities and some villages that are known to be Coptic Christian areas, but few are exclusively Coptic.26

Intimidation of Christians in Egypt

[30]     On August 30, 2016, Egypt’s parliament passed a new law on the construction and renovation of churches, which maintains restrictions and discriminates against the Christian minority.27 Coptic Christians in Egypt have suffered numerous cases of forced displacement, physical assaults, bomb and arson attacks, and blocking of church construction in recent years.28

[31]     The number and severity of violent incidents targeting Coptic Christians and their property has increased since 2015. This includes attacks by Daesh (alternatively known as Islamic State), which has stated its intent to target Christians and claimed responsibility for high profile bombings in Cairo, Alexandria, and Tanta in December 2016 and April 2017 resulting in scores of casualties.29

[32]     As such, the panel finds that the objective evidence supports the claims for Convention refugee protection for all four claimants.

State Protection

[33]     Successive Egyptian governments have failed to tackle a longstanding pattern of discrimination against Coptic Christians and rising incidences of sectarian violence, by bringing those responsible for sectarian crimes to justice. Instead of prosecuting those behind such violent attacks the Egyptian government of Abdel Fattah al Sisi has continued to rely on state-sponsored reconciliation agreements, which in some cases have involved forcibly evicting Coptic Christians from areas where they are under threat.30

[34]     The Christian minority in Egypt remains underrepresented in the military and security services. Christians who were admitted at the entry level were seldom promoted into the upper ranks of government entities. Coptic Orthodox religious leaders appealed to the government to change the culture of a nation poisoned by extremism.31

[35]     The Abdel Fattah al Sisi government has sought to improve law and order, and has taken several highly visible steps towards bettering state relations with the Coptic Christian community. Al Sisi has vowed to bring the perpetrators of anti-Christian attacks to justice and has promised to rebuild churches damaged in sectarian attacks during the Morsi era. Despite these promises, recent incidents of anti-Christian violence over the past three years have been prompted or preceded by anger among some local Muslims over actual or alleged church construction. Even when authorities have made arrests, they have rarely prosecuted.32

Additional State Protection Considerations for the Female Claimants

[36]     The younger female claimant highlighted two physical attacks against her in Egypt, including a subway attack, and a more-recent February 18, 2018 attack when she was pregnant.33 As members of the wider Coptic Christian community, Coptic Christian women face discrimination and in some cases violence, from which they are not adequately protected by security forces.34

[37]     The panel finds that the documentary evidence is both clear and convincing, and that it rebuts the presumption of adequate state protection for each of the four claimants in Egypt. As such, the panel finds it unreasonable to expect any of the four claimants to seek redress or protection from the police or any other authorities in Egypt.

[38]     The panel also finds that adequate state protection would not be forthcoming to any of the four claimants, in each of their particular set of circumstances.

Internal Flight Alternatives

[39]     As a result of the above-referenced country condition documentation from the National Documentation Package, the panel finds that a viable internal flight alternative does not exist for any of the four claimants in any place in Egypt.

[40]     As such, the panel finds that there are no places or regions in Egypt which could offer any of the four claimants safety from the reasonable chance of persecution, in each of their particular sets of circumstances, namely as Coptic Orthodox Christians who practice their faith in Egypt.

[41]     The panel finds that the four claimants each have a well-founded fear of persecution throughout Egypt, and that there is no viable internal flight alternative for any of them.

CONCLUSION

[42]     Having considered all of the evidence, the panel finds that there is a serious possibility that each of the four claimants faces persecution in Egypt, based on their religion as Coptic Orthodox Christians.

[43]     The panel therefore accepts all four claims under section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

(signed)           C. Ruthven

August 8, 2019

1 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27, as amended, sections 96 and 97(1).
2 Refugee Protection Division Rules, SOR/2012-256.
3 Exhibit 2.
4 Exhibit 1.
5 Exhibit 1, Exhibit 2, Exhibit 3, and Exhibit 4.
6 Exhibit 9.
7 Exhibit 9.
8 Exhibit 9.
9 Exhibit 9.
10 Exhibit 9.
11 Exhibit 10.
12 Exhibit 9 and Exhibit 10.
13 Exhibit 9.
14 Exhibit 10.
15 Exhibit 9.
16 Exhibit 8, Exhibit 9, and Exhibit 10.
17 Exhibit 1.
18 Exhibit 1.
19 Exhibit 1.
20 Exhibit 9.
21 Exhibit 1.
22 Exhibit 2 and Exhibit 4.
23 Exhibit 3.
24
25 Exhibit 6, NDP for Egypt (29 March 2019), item 5.7.
26 Exhibit 6, NDP for Egypt (29 March 2019), item 1.7.
27 Exhibit 6, NDP for Egypt (29 March 2019), item 12.8.
28 Exhibit 6, NDP for Egypt (29 March 2019), item 2.4.
29 Exhibit 6, NDP for Egypt (29 March 2019), item 1.7.
30 Exhibit 6, NDP for Egypt (29 March 2019), item 12.9.
31 Exhibit 6, NDP for Egypt (29 March 2019), item 12.1.
32 Exhibit 6, NDP for Egypt (29 March 2019), item 1.7.
33 Exhibit 3.
34 Exhibit 6, NDP for Egypt (29 March 2019), item 5.2.

Categories
All Countries Somalia

2019 RLLR 100

Citation: 2019 RLLR 100
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: July 22, 2019
Panel: C. Ruthven
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Rodney L. Woolf
Country: Somalia
RPD Number: TB8-08276
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000119-000129


REASONS FOR DECISION

[1]       These reasons and decision are in regards to the claim for protection made by [XXX], who is claiming protection pursuant to section 96 and subsection 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.1

ALLEGATIONS

[2]       The claimant’s full allegations are set out in his Basis of Claim Form and related narrative.2 The claimant is a member of the Sheikhal clan in Somalia, and he practices the Sunni Muslim faith, and follows the Sufi rites.

[3]       The claimant grew up in Mogadishu, where he resided until July 2007, when his family relocated to Jilib, Middle Juba. In Mogadishu, members of Al Shabaab (alternate name spellings include Al-Shabaab,3 al-Shabaab4, and Harakat Al-Shabaab Al-Mujaahidiin5) had forced the claimant’s parents to close their small Sufi shop. Their members also enforced Al Shabaab’s fundamentalist interpretations of Islam.

[4]       In Jilib, the claimant and his father joined the claimant’s paternal grandfather in raising forty cows and fifty goats. Al Shabaab took control of Jilib in 2008. Their members demanded quarterly taxation of the family’s herd animals. The claimant’s paternal grandfather died in 2015, but the claimant and his father continued to raise the animals for their meat and their milk production.

[5]       On January 21, 2018, four members of Al Shabaab approached the claimant’s parents, in an attempt to recruit the claimant. The claimant’s father was killed by one of the armed men, and the claimant’s mother was threatened with death, if the claimant did not agree to be recruited the following day.

[6]       The claimant and his mother immediately fled to a residence thirty minutes outside Jilib, and took shelter with [XXX], a friend of the claimant’s late father. [XXX] arranged for the burial of the claimant’s father, as well as the sale of the family’s livestock. The claimant and his mother relocated to Mogadishu, where the claimant arranged for a smuggler to take him to North America.

[7]       The smugger provided to the claimant a Finland passport, and she accompanied him to Canada on [XXX], 2018. The claimant made his claim for protection in April 2018.

DETERMINATION

[8]       The panel finds that the claimant is a Convention refugee, pursuant to section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, based on his imputed political opinion, namely his refusal to be recruited into the Al Shabaab armed group.

ANALYSIS

Identity

[9]       The claimant declared that his name was [XXX] and that his date of birth was [XXX], 1997, within his Basis of Claim Form responses, and within his responses to Generic Application Form for Canada, Schedule 12, and Schedule A.6 According to his Basis of Claim Form narrative and his responses to Generic Application Form for Canada, he was born in Mogadishu.

Testimony of the Witness

[10]     The claimant invited a witness to testify in support of his identity and his nationality. [XXX] testified that he knew the claimant, as the witness was a former Jilib shopkeeper. The witness further testified that they met in August 2007, and that the claimant visited his Jilib shop three or four times a month, until October 2015 (when the witness’ father was killed).

[11]     The panel finds that the witness testimony supported the narrative and the testimony of the claimant, in regards to his personal identity, as well as in regards to the claimant’s Jilib residence, between 2007 and October 2015.

Claimant’s Sheikhal Clan Identity

[12]     The witness testified that both he and the claimant were members of the Sheikhal Lobogi clan.

[13]     The claimant presented a November 10, 2018 notarized letter from maternal Uncle [XXX], as well as a November 12, 2018 notarized affidavit from his mother.7 Both [XXX] and [XXX] confirmed that the claimant was from the Sheikhal clan, and that he practiced the Sufi rites of Sunni Islam.

[14]     A deponent’s identity card or passport is normally required to sign an affidavit in Kenya.8 Regarding the November 12, 2018 notarized affidavit signed by [XXX], the panel notes that a verbal acknowledgment from [XXX], also without presented identification,9 was used by the notary public to verify the identity of [XXX]. No further evidence was adduced regarding the relationship between [XXX] and [XXX].

[15]     The panel assigned the testimony more probative value than the notarized letters, as neither the notarized letter (Somalia) nor the notarized affidavit (Kenya) was accompanied by the respective declarant’s identification, for verification purposes.

[16]     The panel acknowledges that the Sheikhal clan has alternate names in Somalia, including Sheikal, Shekhal Lobogi, Shekhal Gendershe, in addition to the alternate name of Shekhash, used in Ethiopia.10 The Sheikhal are the common name for lineages with an inherited religious status. Because of their religious status they usually have privileged access to all parts of Somalia.11

[17]     Both Ashraf and Sheikhal peoples have achieved political influence and success in education and commerce with Arab countries, yet they can still face discrimination and human rights abuses in Somalia, on account of their non-clan origins and lack of an armed militia.12

Midaynta Community Services

[18]     The presented November 21, 2018 letter signed by an administrator at Midaynta Community Services13 put forth the several indicators that the claimant was a member of the Sheikhal clan, and that he was a former resident of Somalia. An interview was completed with the claimant on November 21, 2018, in the standard Somali language. The claimant displayed accurate geographic knowledge and he was able to fluently speak in a dialect consistent with a resident of Somalia.

[19]     Although these types of interviews can never conclusively determine citizenship, the panel assigned the assessment probative value, in conjunction with the other oral and written evidence which was adduced, regarding the claimant’s identity.

[20]     Based on the claimant’s testimony and the totality of the written submissions,14 which were consistent with the objective evidence, the panel is satisfied that the claimant established that, on a balance of probabilities, he belongs to the Sheikhal clan.

Documents Confirming Identity and Citizenship in Somalia

[21]     The claimant testified that he has never been properly issued a passport in his lifetime, nor was he issued a driver’s licence before his arrival in Canada. The claimant further testified that he has never been issued a voter’s card or a national identification card (by any country).

[22]     The Government of Somalia ceased to exist in December 1990, and the country underwent a destructive and brutal civil war, in the course of which most records were destroyed. Those few records not destroyed are in the hands of private individuals, or are otherwise not retrievable. There are no circumstances under which a person born in Somalia can reasonably be expected to recover original documents held by the former government of Somalia. As such, most Somalis lack birth certificates.15

[23]     There is no official birth registration system in Somalia. Only hospitals are registering births.16 The claimant testified that he was born at a private residence in Mogadishu.

[24]     The panel finds that the documentary evidence from the National Documentation Package of Somalia indicates that the issuance and retention of official documents has been very challenging for all of the years that the claimant declared that he has been alive. As such, the panel finds the claimant’s testimony about a lack of documents issued to him by officials in Somalia to be reasonable.

Residential History, Academics, and Work History

[25]     The claimant indicated the he received three years of education within his response to Education/Occupation Detail Question 2 of the Generic Application Form For Canada.17 The claimant left the response to Question 7 of Schedule A blank, where it asked to enumerate any completed years of education.18

[26]     In addition to the above responses, the claimant indicated in his Basis of Claim Form narrative that he had no formal education, but that his father taught him how to read and write. He attended a dugsi for education in the Sufi rites of Sunni Islam.19

[27]     When the panel put the difference between the Schedule A response and the Generic Application Form For Canada response to the claimant at the hearing, he testified that the three years he was referencing in the Generic Application Form For Canada were the years that his father taught him, namely from 2003 to 2006. These were the same three years a dugsi teacher came to his home to teach him about Sufi rites.

[28]     The claimant testified that he was never issued a results certificate by his dugsi teacher, and that he never sat for an examination in Somalia. As such, no educational documents from Somalia were issued to him.

[29]     The panel finds the claimant’s explanation regarding the differences between his Schedule A response and his Generic Application Form For Canada response to be reasonable, and the panel finds the claimant’s testimony about his lack of educational documents to be reasonable, under the circumstances.

[30]     The claimant was self-employed as a herder on his family’s Jilib farm from February 2015 until January 2018, and he resided in Jilib during that same timeframe.20

[31]     The panel finds the claimant’s testimony regarding the regions where he lived in his lifetime were consistent with the presented written evidence. The panel also finds the claimant’s testimony regarding how his problems in Somalia developed to fluid and coherent. The panel therefore accepts this testimony as being credible.

Global Identity Assessment

[32]     Having assessed all of the evidence presented, the panel finds the claimant’s explanations to be reasonable under the circumstances, regarding the reasons why he was unable to produce sufficient credible documentation to corroborate his personal identity, in view of the circumstances which were present in Somalia since his declared birth.

[33]     The panel finds that, on a balance of probabilities, the claimant is who he claims to be, with regard to his name, his family situation, his place of birth, his nationality, and his Sheikhal clan membership.

[34]     Based on the above considerations, including the presented documents, as well as the claimant’s testimony, and the testimony of the witness, the panel finds that the claimant has established his identity as a national of Somalia, based on a balance of probabilities.

Credibility

[35]     The panel finds that the claimant testified at the hearing in a straightforward and consistent manner, without the use of embellishments, contradictions, or omissions from the details which were presented when he made his claim for protection. As such, the panel finds the claimant to be credible.

[36]     The panel finds that the country condition evidence supports the claimant’s testimony, the testimony of the witness, and the Basis of Claim Form narrative statements,21 regarding the underlying reasons for the claimant’s departure from Somalia on [XXX], 2018.22

[37]     Based on his testimony and the corroborating evidence presented,23 the panel finds that the claimant has a subjective fear of returning to Somalia.

Objective Basis of the Claim

[38]     The overall objective evidence supports the claim for Convention refugee protection for the claimant based on his imputed political opinion. The panel finds that the presented evidence from the claimant, including his narrative statements,24 his testimony, the testimony of the witness, and the presented corroborating documents,25 is consistent with the objective evidence from the National Documentation Package for Somalia.26

Al Shabaab

[39]     The claimant testified that he fears a return to Somalia because of the threat of forced recruitment at the hands of the Al Shabaab armed group. Members of Al Shabaab attempted to recruit the claimant on January 21, 2018. His father was fatally shot by the same men who attempted to recruit the claimant.

[40]     Al Shabaab aims to discredit and destabilize the Federal Government of Somalia and target any countries or entities that support Somalia’s fight against Al Shabaab.27 The group’s ideology is typically described as a brand of Salafism and Wahhabism that supports talifir, the excommunication of apostates or unbelievers.28

[41]     Over the past seven years, Al Shabaab’ s military capacity has been considerably reduced due to the efforts of the African Union Mission in Somalia and Somali government forces, as well as internal division within Al Shabaab. Despite this, the group still controls large sections of rural areas, where it appears to have regrouped, as well as supply routes between towns. Al Shabaab appear to be more capable of launching larger, more complex targeted attacks.29

[42]     Al Shabaab are estimated to consist of between five and nine thousand armed fighters, who are able to move across regions to engage in combat.30 Despite extensive security measures being implemented across Mogadishu, last year’s Independence Day attacks by Al Shabaab demonstrated continued operational capability for the group.31

[43]     Al Shabaab has an extensive network of sympathisers, informants, spies, and other collaborators throughout Somalia. The group is considered to be present everywhere in south and central Somalia, and they are assumed to have infiltrated Somali government institutions, the police force, and Somali National Army, according to a United Nations source. Al Shabaab also executed civilians suspected of having collaborated with its enemies.32

[44]     As a result of the referenced country condition documentation from the National Documentation Package, the panel finds that the claimant has established an objective basis for his claim, and that his fears are well-founded.

State Protection

[45]     Continuing problems of corruption, mismanagement, and financial constraints have compromised the effectiveness of the Somali National Army, according to the United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea. The clan alliances of certain army and police units threaten their impartiality in dealing with local clans. Irregular pay of the police and army staff in Somalia has had a negative impact on the security situation, leading to desertion and some members of security forces joining Al Shabaab. There are also indications of infiltration of the security forces by Al Shabaab.33

[46]     In light of the referenced country condition evidence, the panel finds that it would be objectively unreasonable for the claimant in his particular set of circumstances to seek the protection of the authorities in Somalia.

[47]     Based on his personal profile and Sheikhal clan membership profile, the panel finds that the claimant has rebutted the presumption of state protection with clear and convincing evidence of the state’s inability to protect him, in his particular set of circumstances. The panel finds that on a balance of probabilities, adequate state protection would not be available to the claimant, should he return to Somalia, based on his membership in the Sheikhal clan.

Internal Flight Alternatives

[48]     The panel finds that it would be unreasonable to expect the claimant to seek refuge in another part of Somalia, based on the country condition evidence related to the clan structure, and lack of available protection in Somalia.

[49]     With regards to possible internal flight alternatives for the claimant in Somalia, given that the Somali National Army and the police authorities are ineffective throughout Somalia, and based on the risks of harm to the claimant from the death threats made against him by members of Al Shabaab, the panel finds that there is a serious possibility of persecution throughout Somalia for the claimant, and therefore a viable internal flight alternative does not exist for him.

CONCLUSION

[50]     The panel finds that there is a serious possibility that the claimant faces persecution in Somalia, pursuant to section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The panel concludes that the claimant is a Convention refugee based on his imputed political opinion, namely his refusal to be recruited into the Al Shabaab armed group.

[51]     The panel therefore accepts the claim.

(signed)           C. Ruthven

July 23, 2019

1 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27, as amended, sections 96 and 97(1).
2 Exhibit 2.
3 Exhibit 3, National Documentation Package (NDP) for Somalia (30 April 2019), item 1.4, item 1.7, item 1.8, item
1.10, item 1.11, item 1.12, item 1.13, item 1.14, item 1.16, item 1.19, and item 1.21, inter alia.
4 Exhibit 3, NDP for Somalia (30 April 2019), item 1.5, item 1.7, item 1.9, item 1.12, item 1.13, item 1.16, item 1.19, item 1.20, item 1.21, and item 2.1, inter alia.
5 Exhibit 3, NDP for Somalia (30 April 2019), item 1.7, item 1.8, and item 7.11.
6 Exhibit 1 and Exhibit 2.
7 Exhibit 5.
8 Exhibit 3, NDP for Somalia (30 April 2019), item 9.2, and Exhibit 6, NDP for Kenya (29 March 2019), item 9.2.
9 Exhibit 5.
10 Exhibit 3, NDP for Somalia (30 April 2019), item 13.1 and item 13.5.
11 Exhibit 3, NDP for Somalia (30 April 2019), item 1.7 and item 7.11.
12 Exhibit 3, NDP for Somalia (30 April 2019), item 13.1.
13 Exhibit 5.
14 Exhibit 5.
15 Exhibit 3, NDP for Somalia (30 April 2019), item 1.7.
16 Exhibit 3, NDP for Somalia (30 April 2019), item 3.8.
17 Exhibit 1.
18 Exhibit 1.
19 Exhibit 2.
20 Exhibit 1.
21 Exhibit 2.
22 Exhibit 1 and Exhibit 2.
23 Exhibit 4 and Exhibit 5.
24 Exhibit 2.
25 Exhibit 4 and Exhibit 5.
26 Exhibit 3, NDP for Somalia (30 April 2019).
27 Exhibit 3, NDP for Somalia (30 April 2019), item 1.5.
28 Exhibit 3, NDP for Somalia (30 April 2019), item 1.7.
29 Exhibit 3, NDP for Somalia (30 April 2019), item 1.19.
30 Exhibit 3, NDP for Somalia (30 April 2019), item 1.7.
31 Exhibit 3, NDP for Somalia (30 April 2019), item 1.4.
32 Exhibit 3, NDP for Somalia (30 April 2019), item 1.7.
33 Exhibit 3, NDP for Somalia (30 April 2019), item 1.8.

Categories
All Countries Pakistan

2019 RLLR 18

Citation: 2019 RLLR 18
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: March 11, 2019
Panel: J. Bousfield
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Lisa Rosenblatt
Country: Pakistan
RPD Number: TB8-18500
Associated RPD Number(s): TB8-18564, TB8-18565, TB8-18566, TB8-18567
ATIP Number: A-2021-01124
ATIP Pages: 000128-000131


DECISION

[1]       MEMBER: This is the decision in the claims of [XXX], [XXX], [XXX], [XXX], and [XXX].

[2]       They claims to be citizens of Pakistan from Sialkot, and are claiming refugee protection pursuant to Section 96 and 97 (1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[3]       COUNSEL: I am sorry. Can I interrupt for just one moment? [XXX], I know you have a little bit of difficulty expressing yourself, but your English is quite good in terms of understanding.

[4]       CLAIMANT: Sometime.

[5]       COUNSEL: Do you need the Interpreter to translate the decision, or…

[6]       CLAIMANT: No. Yes. It is okay.

[7]       INTERPRETER: It is okay?

[8]       CLAIMANT: Yes.

[9]       INTERPRETER: So, I do not have to translate.

[10]     CLAIMANT: No.

[11]     COUNSEL: Yes. I do not think she needs the Interpreter to translate.

[12]     MEMBER: Okay.

[13]     COUNSEL: She is quite, quite, good at understanding English.

[14]     MEMBER: The principal Claimant was designated representative for the minor Claimants.

[15]     The Minister intervened in this case on credibility grounds, but withdrew the intervention shortly before the hearing. Minister’s Counsel did not appear at the hearing.

[16]     I am satisfied that the Claimants are citizens of Pakistan, and as to their personal identity based on their passports which can be found in Exhibit 1.

[17]     The details of the allegations appear in the answers to the principal Claimant’s basis of claim form, which is Exhibit 2.1, and were elaborated upon by her in oral testimony during the hearing this afternoon.

[18]     The central allegations of a much longer narrative are the following.

[19]     The Claimants are practicing members of the Ahmadi faith. They have suffered a history of persecution in Pakistan because of their faith, including severe restrictions on their freedom of worship, ostracism, vandalism, assault, verbal abuse, threats, and harassment. Their Ahmadi relatives have also been persecuted.

[20]     They therefore came to Canada on temporary resident visas in mid June 2018, and initiated these in-land refugee protection claims shortly after their arrival. They are afraid of further religious persecution if they return to Pakistan, and that they will not be able to freely practice their religion.

[21]     For the following reasons I find that the Claimants are Convention refugees.

[22]     The affirmed testimony of refugee claimants is presumed to be true, unless it is internally inconsistent, inherently implausible, or contradicted by country documents. In this regard, I am relying on the Federal Court of Appeal decision in Maldonado. There was no such fault with the principal Claimant’s testimony in the hearing this afternoon.

[23]     Furthermore, the Claimants Ahmadi religion and the rest of the allegations in the case are confirmed by a substantial number of personal documents that I do not have sufficient reason to discount, including their passports indicating that they are Ahmadis, a travel permission from the minor Claimants’ father, a reliable Ahmadi certificate, Ahmadi identity cards, Ahmadi donation receipts, other Ahmadi documents, claim specific news reports, and a letter from the [XXX]. These documents can be found in Exhibits 1, 7, and 9.

[24]     Furthermore, the principal Claimant displayed reasonable knowledge of the Ahmadi faith in response to the religious knowledge questions I asked her during the hearing. I therefore find that the principal Claimant is a credible witness, that the Claimants are practicing members of the Ahmadi faith, and all of the rest of the allegations in this case are also true on a balance of probabilities.

[25]     Based on the credible allegations and the documentary evidence on country conditions before me, which can be found in Sections 1, 2, and 12 of Exhibit 3, which is the National Documentation Package for Pakistan for January 31, 2019, as well as in Claimant Exhibits 7 and 9, I am following Jurisprudential Guide TB7-01837 which holds that practicing members of the Ahmadi faith, like the Claimants, have a well-founded fear of persecution in Pakistan by reason of their Ahmadi religion, that adequate State protection is not available to them, and that they do not have viable internal flight alternatives.

[26]     I therefore conclude that the Claimants are Convention refugees. The claims are therefore accepted. Thank you for coming.

[27]     COUNSEL: Thank you very much.

[28]     CLAIMANT: Thank you.

[29]     MEMBER: Good afternoon.

[30]     INTERPRETER: Thank you, Mr. Member.

[31]     COUNSEL: So, I will give you your documents back, the originals. If you want to take the kids out to the reception area, I will meet you.

———- REASONS CONCLUDED ———-

Categories
All Countries Cameroon

2019 RLLR 99

Citation: 2019 RLLR 99
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: January 28, 2019
Panel: A. Shaffer
Counsel for the claimant(s): Ugochukwu Udogu
Country: Cameroon
RPD Number: TB8-07480
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000114-000118


DECISION

[1]       MEMBER: Okay, I am sorry for the delay again. I took a few moments to consider the evidence and I am going to accept your claim. I just have to read my reasons, okay. It is going to take me a few minutes.

[2]       [XXX], you are a citizen of Cameroon and you are seeking refugee protection pursuant to Sections 96 and 97 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[3]       Your allegations are more fully set out in your Basis of Claim Form and in your testimony.

[4]       In summary, you allege that you fear persecution based on your political opinion and based on your ethnicity as an Anglophone Cameroonian. I find that you are a Convention refugee for the following reasons.

[5]       I find that you have established your identity on a balance of probabilities based on the certified true copies of your passport on files forwarded to the Refugee protection division by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada.

[6]       I find that you have established a nexus to a Convention ground to your ethnicity as an Anglophone Cameroonian.

[7]       With respect to credibility, I have serious concerns about your alleged Sur Place political opinion. I find much of your evidence about your political activity within the Southern Cameroon’s relief organisation suspect.

[8]       You alleged that you joined the party in early 2017 and attended a protest with this organisation in August 2017. You alleged that this protest is what led you to becoming of interest to the Cameroonian government. I am not persuaded by the evidence you presented on this matter.

[9]       All of your letters from this organisation indicate that you joined the organisation almost a year later than you said you did. You have no reasonable explanation for why you did not bring documentary evidence to correct the alleged error.

[10]     You had no documentary evidence to show that you attend this protest. I am not persuaded based on the evidence before me that you attended this protest.

[11]     I note that your documentary evidence indicates that you joined the organisation either shortly before or after you prepared your refugee claim.

[12]     You did not name the organisation correctly in your BOC, Basis of Claim Form and you had no reasonable explanation for why you would misname an organisation that you had allegedly joined which put your life at risk.

[13]     I had serious concerns about your motivation for joining this organisation and many other concerns about the evidence that you presented with respect to your alleged political activities.

[14]     However, I have no valid reason to doubt that you are an Anglophone from Cameron. I will rely on the Response to Information Request, CMR106141.E even though it was not disclosed prior to the hearing, but because the evidence contained within it is to your benefit.

[15]     I will excerpt the portion that I find particularly relevant, “A joint statement by a group of UN independent experts expressed concerns over reports of the violence in the South West and North West at the end of 2017 where the country’s Anglophone minority was reportedly suffering worsening human rights violations including excessive force by the security services, injuries, mass arrest, arbitrary detentions, torture, and other ill- treatments”, UN November 17th, 2017.

[16]     According to US country report 2017, “there continue to be reports of arrest and disappearances of individuals by security forces in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions, US, April 20th, 2018, 2.

[17]     A report by Amnesty International documents “unlawful killings and extrajudicial executions, destruction of private property, arbitrary arrest and torture committed by the Cameroonian security forces during military operations in the Anglophone regions including the burning down of villages”, Amnesty International, June 12th, 2018, 6.

[18]     Similarly, in correspondence with the research directorate or researcher in transnational African migration indicated that, more than 78 localities in Anglophone Cameroon have been burned down by the Cameroon military and that the civilians are killed on a daily basis, the Researcher, August 9th, 2018.

[19]     Correspondence with a Research Directorate, representative from International Crises Group indicated that in Bamenda, the regional capital of the predominantly Anglophone Northwest region the security of the Anglophones and Francophones too is not guaranteed.

[20]     This is because violence has been rising as a result of confrontation between security forces and armed separatists as well as several abuses on the population committed by both military and armed groups.

[21]     Security and military officers brutalise and then carry out arbitrary arrest, extort money from the population, intimidate girls and boys with guns and even rape girls. The above information on Bamenda also applies to Buea, Kumba, Menji, Mamfe, Bangu and other Anglophone localities especially rural areas”. International Crises Groups, August 3rd, 2018.

[22]     Similarly, in correspondence with the Research Directorate, a representative at Nouveaux droits de l’homme Cameroon, NDH Cameroon, an Yaounde-based NGO indicated in the document she prepared on the situation of Anglophones in Cameroon that armed forces in Bamenda <inaudible> fire live ammunitions, sometimes occupy houses at night for searches, carry out arbitrary arrest and use excessive force in all circumstances against individuals and Anglophone residents are caught in the crossfire of separatists and government forces”, NDH Cameroon, August 2018.

[23]     According to sources, people have fled the violence in Anglophone regions <inaudible> Cameroon May 29th, 2018, Caritas May 15th, 2018.

[24]     The UN reports that, “Anglophone Cameroonians began fleeing violence in October 2017 and continue to pour into Nigeria’s Cross River, Taraba, Enugu, Akwa, Ibom states and total over 20000 refugees have been arrested in the area, UN March 20th, 2018.

[25]     Amnesty International similarly reports that as a result of the security operations conducted in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions and the consequent violence, more than 20000 people fled to Nigeria and over 15000 people became internally displaced, Amnesty International June 12th,2018, page 6.

[26]     Similarly, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs OCHA reports that at least 160,000 people have been internally displaced in Cameroon’s Anglophone region, UN, 29th May, 2018.

[27]     In an emergency response for these regions, OCHA further explained that clashes between non­State armed groups and defence and security forces have displaced the civilian population into the surrounding forest and villages and that 80% of the displaced population have found refuge in the forest, UN, May 2018, page 3.

[28]     I find that the information contained in this RIR as well as other information from the National Documentation Package indicates that there is a serious possibility that Anglophones even ones that are not politically active, accordingly I find that as an Anglophone Cameroonian you face a serious possibility of persecution based on this ethnicity.

[29]     As the State is the agent of persecution against Anglophone Cameroonians, I find that here is no State protection available to you. For the same reason I find that, there is no internal flight alternative available to you.

[30]     Having considered all the evidence, I find that you are a Convention refugee for the above noted reason.

[31]     I am going to return your original documents. Thank you for your testimony today.

[32]     CLAIMANT: Thank you madam member.

[33]     MEMBER: That’s it.

[34]     This hearing is now concluded.

[35]     CLAIMANT: Are we off the record?

[36]     MEMBER: No, I don’t have discussions off the record. So if you would like to say something, go ahead?

[37]     CLAIMANT: Okay, So he did mean, additional, it is not why I mean it..

[38]     MEMBER: It’s fine. Everything is done. So it doesn’t matter. Thank you.

———- REASONS CONCLUDED ———-

Categories
All Countries Jordan

2019 RLLR 98

Citation: 2019 RLLR 98
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: September 19, 2019
Panel: F. Mortazavi
Counsel for the claimant(s): Sherif Ashamalla
Country: Jordan
RPD Number: TB8-06771
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000107-000113


REASONS FOR DECISION

[1]       [XXX], the claimant, a male Muslim, is a citizen of Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (Jornan). He is claiming refugee protection under sections 96 and 97 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).1

ALLEGATIONS

[2]       The claimant’s allegations are detailed in his narrative of his Basis of Claim Form (BOC), signed on March 14, 2018.2

[3]       In summary, his evidence indicates that he had an out-of-wedlock relationship with a Christian woman named [XXX], whom he met her in 2016. In support of [XXX] existence, he submitted two photographs,3 and testified under oath that the woman depicted in the two photographs is [XXX].

[4]       In January 2017, the claimant told his parents that he intended to marry a Christian woman, with whom he had a sexual relationship with. His parents disapproved. The claimant alleged that in early February 2017, he was threatened and humiliated by one of [XXX] male relatives while he was walking on the street and holding hands with [XXX]. She left him, and walked away. He alleged that he has not seen her since, and he was later blocked from her Facebook account.

[5]       He alleged that while he was walking home on February 13, 2017, he was hit by a car. He lost consciousness, and was taken to the hospital by a bystander. He was hospitalized for three days. In support of this allegation, the claimant submitted a copy of the complaint form he had filed with the police, dated February 13, 2017, against an unknown driver.4 He also submitted a copy of a medical report, dated February 16, 2017.5

[6]       The claimant alleged that during the incident he lost his phone and belongings. The claimant speculated and alleged that this incident was orchestrated by [XXX] family, in attempt to kill him. He further states that neither [XXX] nor any of his family members visited him while he was in the hospital.

[7]       The claimant alleged that he has not heard from [XXX] since he was blocked from her Facebook. However, the claimant’s friend, [XXX], in the United States (US), did speak to her once via Facebook Messenger, in order to encourage [XXX] to go to the US with the claimant. Subsequently, [XXX] Facebook account was closed, and [XXX] was blocked. Thus, [XXX] and the claimant have not been able to contact her via social media since April 2017.6

[8]       The claimant alleged that his four brothers and uncles have disowned him officially because of the hateful relationship between the claimant’s tribe and [XXX] tribe.7

[9]       The claimant testified that he fears [XXX] family, that they would try to kill him because he has dishonored them. He explained that he no longer has protection of his own family and tribe, and that the police will not protect him because it is a family honor issue. He fears being a victim of honor killing if he were to return to Jordan.

DETERMINATION

[10]     The panel finds that the claimant is a person in need of protection pursuant to section 97(1) of the IRPA for the following reasons.

ANALYSIS

Identity

[11]     The panel finds that the claimant, on a balance of probabilities, is a citizen of Jordan, and has established his personal identity based on the copy of his original passports.8

Credibility

[12]     Notwithstanding the issue of delay in claiming asylum in Canada, and the credibility assessment of the car incident, given that the culprits were unknown and the claimant merely speculates that [XXX] family had planned it, the panel gives the benefit of the doubt to the claimant’s evidence with respect to having a relationship with [XXX], and accepts that, on a balance of probabilities, the basis of his subjective fear is true.

Objective evidence

[13]     Having considered the totality of the evidence and counsel’s submissions, the panel finds that there is sufficient credible or trustworthy objective evidence before it to support the claimant’s subjective fear.

[14]     The documentary evidence indicates that honor killing persist in Jordan. However, while it refers to women being target of honor killing, it makes no such reference to men. In fact, “[a]ccording to estimates, there are an average of 20-25 so-called honour killings reported every year in Jordan.”9

[15]     According to US Department of State report:

There were no reported instances of forced marriage as an alternative to a potential honor killing during the year, although NGOs noted that many cases of forced marriage occurred shortly after an accusation of rape due to family and societal pressure before any formal trial began. Observers noted that if a woman marries her rapist, according to customary belief, her family members do not need to kill her to “preserve the family’s honor,” a belief that persisted despite the 2017 amendment to the legal code.10

[16]     The review of the documentary evidence indicates that the main victims of honor killings are women, and their family members are also at risk of honor killings. Regarding family members, and disputes between tribes, the claimant submitted a news article, dated May 21, 2018. It notes that, “a group of members of the Shawabkeh tribe, led by a former Royal Guard officer, and seven others, including retired members of the security services, brutally assault[ed] a young Al-Fayez family.”11

[17]     The documentary evidence indicates:

In the past, Article 98 of the Penal Code was applied to reduce penalties for men who perpetrated violent crimes against women, such as murder or assault, after the woman had committed a dishonourable act. Article 98 was amended in 2017 to prevent it from being used to reduce penalties for so-called ‘honour’ crimes against women.12

[18]     A recent Human Rights Watch report indicates that, “[a]ccording to press reports, about 20 women are killed in Jordan each year by male family members in so-called “family honor” crimes.”13

[19]     The panel finds that in the circumstances of this case, on the balance of probabilities, the claimant could be a target of honor killing if he were to return to Jordan.

Protection

[20]     Refugee protection is meant to be a form of surrogate protection to be invoked only in those situations where the refugee claimant has unsuccessfully sought the protection of their home state. The onus is on the refugee claimant to approach the state for protection, in situations where state protection might be reasonably forthcoming.14 In the absence of a compelling explanation, a failure to pursue state protection opportunities within the home state will usually be fatal to a refugee claim, at least, where the state is a functioning democracy with a willingness and the apparatus necessary to provide a measure of protection to its citizens.

[21]     In the case at hand, the state is not the agent of persecution. The claimant fears [XXX] tribe. However, the panel needs to determine whether the state would be willing to offer the claimant protection, if he were to seek state protection.

[22]     The panel notes that the US Department of State report indicates that:

… Jordan is a constitutional monarchy … The constitution concentrates executive and legislative authority in the king…  Elections for the Chamber of Deputies occur approximately every four years and last took place in 2016. International observers deemed the elections organized, inclusive, credible, and technically well run.

Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the security forces.15

[23]     The documentary evidence filed establishes that the police rarely investigate honour killings on their own initiative:

… it is clear that there is a strong connection between tribalism and the protection of women’s rights once cases reach court. One focus group member described this relationship, saying “even at court there are tribal dynamics at play, so it’s not as if it’s two separate systems … they are totally intertwined.”

The state law in Jordan reflects what many believe to be tribal principles in how it deals with men who kill their female relatives they suspect of not being chaste. The bias towards the perpetrators of this crime is evident early in the process. [Human Rights Watch] claims that in Jordan the police rarely investigate so-called honour killings and “typically treat the killers as vindicated men.” Or when the police do conduct an investigation, they routinely conduct faulty investigations that fail to produce enough evidence for conviction.

Tribal processes seem to be primarily used today in Jordan for violations against life, limb and honour. The first of these are referred to as ‘blood crimes’ and criminal responses to violations of the first are known as ‘honour crimes’. A mentioned, tribal principles and processes of dispute resolution are used in Jordan not just by those living nomadically but also by many people of all socioeconomic backgrounds with tribal affiliations living in villages or cities like Amman.16

[24]     The claimant must establish, through clear and convincing evidence, that the state would be unwilling or unable to provide adequate protection if he were to return to his home country, Jordan. In view of the objective evidence noted above, in the circumstances of this case, the panel finds the claimant has rebutted the presumption of state protection.

Internal flight alternative

[25]     Jordan is a small tribal country. Moreover, the documentary evidence indicates that attitudes towards honour are the same throughout the country.

[26]     In the circumstances of this case, there is no viable internal flight alternative available to the claimant in Jordan.

CONCLUSION

[27]     The panel finds, [XXX], is a person in need of protection pursuant to section 97(1) of the IRPA, as he faces a particularized risk of harm. On a balance of probabilities, his removal to Jorden may subject him to a risk to life, to a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment, or to a danger of torture.

[28]     The panel therefore accepts his claim.

(signed)           F. Mortazavi

September 19, 2019

1 The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c.27, as amended, sections 96 and 97(1).
2 Exhibit 2, Basis of Claim Form (BOC).
3 Exhibit 6, Photographs.
4 Exhibit 4, Personal Disclosure received August 30, 2019, at pp. 4-5.
5 Ibid., at pp. 6-7.
6 Ibid., at p. 10.
7 Ibid., at p. 8.
8 Exhibit 1, Package of Information from the Referring CBSA/CIC, Certified True Copy of Passport.
9 Ibid item 5.10.
10 Exhibit 3, National Documentation Package (NDP) for Jordan (August 30, 2019), item 2.1.
11 Exhibit 5, Country Disclosure, at p. 2.
12 Exhibit 3, NDP for Jordan (August 30, 2019), item 5.6.
13 Ibid., item 5.2.
14 Canada (Attorney General) v. Ward, [1993] 2 S.C.R. 689, 103 D.L.R. (4th) 1, 20 Imm. L.R. (2d) 85.
15 Exhibit 3, NDP for Jordan (August 30, 2019), item 2.1.
16 Ibid., item 5.10.