Citation: 2019 RLLR 75
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: February 7, 2019
Panel: Melanie Chartier
Country: Democratic Republic of Congo
RPD Number: VB8-00176
ATIP Number: A-2020-01274
ATIP Pages: 000227-000232
— DECISION AND REASONS BY THE MEMBER
 PRESIDING MEMBER: This is the decision of the Refugee Protection Division in the claims of Mr. [XXX] and his wife [XXX]. The file number is VB8-00176 and today’s date is [XXX], 2019.
 You claim to be citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo and you are both claiming refugee protection pursuant to section 96 and paragraph 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
 I find that you are both Convention refugees because of your imputed political opinion. Here are my reasons.
 Your detailed allegations can be found in your respective Basis of Claim forms. Here’s a summary.
 Your problems started in 2002 when one of your sons, who is now living in Canada, was accused of being part of the rebellion of the north. He was arrested and detained many times. You finally were able to help him leave the country and seek refugee protection in Canada.
 That year you had agents going to your house, searching your house and filling your property on a regular basis. Mr. [XXX], you were brought for questioning by the authorities and each time you had to bribe them in order to be released. Mr. [XXX], in 2005 you were accused of being a member of the Bundi dia Kongo movement and you were arrested and detained by the government authorities on many occasions. You were also the victim of intimidation by agents of the military intelligence service of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
 You continued being harassed until 2010 but things were not as bad as in 2005. After the presidential elections of 2011 you felt that things had improved. The police no longer came to your house and there was no harassment.
 You visited your children in Canada in the [XXX] of 2011 and returned to the Democratic Republic of Congo in [XXX] 2011. At the airport in Kinshasa you were set aside and questioned about your visit in Canada. All of the gifts and new clothes you were bringing back were seized by the authorities.
 In [XXX] 2012 a government agent visited you at your house and questioned you about the purpose of your recent trip to Canada. You were asked to once again present yourself to the military intelligence office the next day, which you did. You were questioned once again and released at the end of the day. You were once again questioned by the same man in [XXX] 2012.
 You arrived in Canada on [XXX], 2012, with a super visa. At that time, despite the past issues you had with the Congolese authorities you were not planning to claim refugee protection. From 2012 until 2017 you considered claiming refugee protection but you were hoping things would get better in your country.
 On [XXX], 2017 you were informed by Mr. [XXX]’ s sister that a summons was left at your house in Kinshasa. Another summons was served three days later. In addition, you found out that a national search warrant was issued on July 10, 2017 for Mr. [XXX].
 Even though you love your country where you still have properties and friends, you both finally decided you claim refugee protection the end of 2017.
 I find that your identity as nationals of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been established by your testimony and the documentation filed including your passports at Exhibit 1.
 Both of you testified at the hearing. I find that you were both credible and I therefore believe what you have alleged in support of your claims. You both testified in a direct, straightforward and spontaneous manner and there were no material contradictions or inconsistencies between your testimony and the rest of the evidence before.
 You also did not embellish your evidence even when you had the chance to do so. For example, when I asked you if you had received another summons since [XXX] of 2017, you testified that you had not. Or, when I asked you if you were involved in any political parties you testified that you had not. Again, I asked you what your political opinion was and you simply stated that you were for the alternates of the president.
 In addition, you provided documents that corroborate your allegations, including a copy of the avis de recherche and the summons, both in Exhibit 3, which state that Mr. [XXX] is wanted for national security reasons.
 Your son, [XXX], also testified at the hearing about why he had to flee the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002 and claim refugee protection in Canada. I too find him credible. He testified in a direct and straightforward manner and corroborated your evidence. He explained in detail the reason by he had to leave the country and why, even with the election of a new president, he is still afraid of going back to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
 I find that you have both established that you have a well-founded fear of persecution because of your imputed political opinion.
 I find that you have both established, on a balance of probabilities, that you are seen by the authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo as political opponents because of your son who was accused of being a rebel in 2002 and because the authorities believe that you were or you are a member of the Bundi dia Kongo movement a religious and opposition political party.
 You testified that throughout the years you have been harassed, arrested and interrogated multiple times by the authorities. While things got a bit better after 2010, you testified that you were again arrested and interrogated upon your return from Canada in [XXX] of 2011 at the airport as well as in early [XXX] 2012 and [XXX] of 2012.
 I find that you have established a subjective fear despite having returned to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2011 and despite the delay in claiming while in Canada.
 First, I note that you had valid legal status in Canada during your entire stay. In addition, you testified that even though you considered claiming refugee protection back in 2011 and 2012 and in the following years, you were hoping to eventually be able to return to Democratic Republic of Congo.
 Most importantly, you testified that you finally decided to claim refugee protection after receiving the summons and the search warrant in [XXX] of 2017. At that point, you were really afraid that your life was in danger.
 I accept your explanations that I find reasonable.
 The country documentation on the Democratic Republic of Congo provides the objective basis for your claims. It clearly indicates that people opposing the regime in power or seen as opposing the regime have been arbitrarily arrested, detained, kidnapped, tortured or even killed. There’s ample evidence that anyone opposing or seen as opposing the regime is a target.
 For example, I’d like to refer to item 2.1 of the National Documentation Package and I read from page 10:
“Throughout the year security forces regularly held protestors and civil society activists incommunicado and without charge for extended periods. For example, on June 15, state agents arrested opposition Union For Democracy and Social Progress Youth League president David Mukeba in Kisangani for raising concerns about the country’s voter registration. The ANR allegedly held Mukeba incommunicado until August 31, when he was released.
On July 31, the SSF arbitrarily arrested at least 131 civil society activists and civilians following nationwide protests. While most were released within two days, five individuals who attempted to deliver a letter to the local CENI office in Lubumbashi were prosecuted. In August a court convicted four of the activists for disturbing the peace and sentenced them to eight months in prison. In November a court convicted the fifth activist, Timothee Mbuya, of provocation and incitation of disobedience and sentenced him to 12 months in prison.”
 As another example, I’d like to refer to item 2.2 of the National Documentation Package and I read from page 2:
“Authorities continued to ban and repress public dissent and peaceful assemblies organized by civil society organizations and the opposition, especially protests concerning the political crisis and elections. Opposition peaceful protesters were intimidated, harassed and arrested by security forces; government supporters demonstrations took place without interference from the authorities.”
 With respect to the treatment of the Bundi dia Kongo followers, I’d like to refer you to item 4.7 of the National Documentation Package
“ADIAC indicates that BDK followers are on the radar of the Congolese authorities and that they are being sought by the security services, forcing some to live in hiding. Similarly, the Congolese daily Le Potentiel reports that BDK/BDM followers are mistreated by security services, including arbitrary arrest and torture. The same source states that this is the situation in Kinshasa and in the Congo Central province.”
 I also find that your risk of persecution would be increased if you were to return to Congo as failed asylum seekers, especially given that you have made a claim against the authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo and I’d like to refer to item 14.3 of the National Documentation Package which states that there is reports to instruct security chiefs to track down and arrest opponents of the government including members of the main opposition party and that they could use torture with discretion upon their return to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
 Finally, I know that even though a new president was elected recently, I have no evidence before me that things have changed for the better in Democratic Republic of Congo. To the contrary, it appears that the election results are now being contested.
 According to the articles found in Exhibit 5 many suspect that Kabila made a deal with the new president Tshisekide. In addition, according to your testimony, many of the people who worked under Kabila remain in place and the article in Exhibit 5 confirms this, stating for example, at page 5 that most of the security establishment remain loyal to Kabila.
 Therefore, should you return to Democratic Republic of Congo I find that there is a serious possibility that you would be persecuted because of your imputed political opinion.
 I find that you have rebutted the presumption of state protection since the agents of harm in this case is the government and the security forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo, it is clear that state protection would not be reasonably forthcoming.
 Finally, I have assessed whether or not there is a viable internal flight alternative available to you in Democratic Republic of Congo.
 Since the state authorities are the agent of persecution and since they control the entire territory, I find that there is no viable internal flight alternative for you anywhere in the country as there would be a serious possibility of persecution throughout the country.
 For the foregoing reasons, I find that you are both Convention refugees and I therefore accept your claims.
 Thank you and end of the decision.