Categories
All Countries China

2020 RLLR 128

Citation: 2020 RLLR 128
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: January 16, 2020
Panel: A. Casimiro
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Stacey Margaret Duong
Country: China
RPD Number: TB8-33095
Associated RPD Number(s):
ATIP Number: A-2021-01106
ATIP Pages: 000077-000083

REASONS FOR DECISION

[1]       [XXX] (“the Claimant’) makes a claim for refugee protection pursuant to s. 96 and s. 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (“IRPA”).

ALLEGATIONS

[2]       The Claimant’s allegations are fully set out in his Basis of Claim form[1] and in his testimony. He alleges that he is a citizen of the People’s Republic of China and that he fears persecution by the Chinese government because he is a Falun Gong practitioner.

[3]       One of the Claimant’s co-workers died as a result of a workplace accident. The Claimant became very sad and started to develop sleeping problems. He had nightmares and dreamed about his co-worker. As a result, the Claimant woke up feeling very exhausted and depressed. He was suffering from right arm pain and was diagnosed with a shoulder muscle spasm. A friend learned about his health situation and introduced him to Falun Gong.

[4]       His friend told him that Falun Gong could help him. He explained to him the basic principles of Falun Gong, and he urged him to give it a try.

[5]       His friend agreed to teach him privately and he began to learn from him on [XXX] 2017. He experienced improvements for his condition after about two months of practicing Falun Gong with his friend.

[6]       The Claimant then decided to join the group practice with his friend on [XXX] 2017. He went to practice with the group once a week. However, the group experienced a problem on [XXX] 2018.

[7]       They found out that two members from another group of practitioners in their town were arrested by the police (“PSB”). As a result, the group suspended their practice. All the members were advised to go into hiding.

[8]       The Claimant went to hide at his wife’s cousin’s place. While in hiding, the Claimant discussed the situation with his family. The family decided that the Claimant should leave China for safety. The Claimant then used the services of a smuggler to help him get out of China.

[9]       The smuggler flew with the Claimant from Beijing to Toronto on [XXX] 2018.

[10]     After arriving in Canada, the Claimant hoped to return back to China, if the situation improved. However, he learned from his wife that the PSB came to his home to look for him. They asked his wife for his whereabouts.

[11]     His wife also learned that the group’s leader was arrested. The PSB returned to their home and left a summons for the Claimant.  The PSB also went to the homes of his close relatives to look for him.

[12]     As a result, the Claimant made a claim for refugee protection. Since arriving in Canada, he also joined a Falun Gong group.

[13]     The PSB continues to look for the Claimant in China. He fears arrest, detention and abuse if he is to return to China on account of his Falun Gong practice. The Claimant also wishes to continue practicing Falun Gong freely, which is something he could not do in China.

DETERMINATION

[14]     The panel finds that the Claimant is a Convention refugee, as he has a well-founded fear of persecution on the basis of his membership in a particular social group as a Falun Gong practitioner.

ANALYSIS

Identity

[15]     The Claimant explained that the smuggler took his passport upon arriving in Canada as he still owed money at that time. The Claimant to this date, had failed to pay the remaining balance owing to the smuggler. He did attempt to recover his passport by trying to contact the smuggler through a relative, however they had lost contact with the smuggler. To date, he had not secured the return of his passport. However, based on his original Resident Identity card and Hukou, which were presented at the hearing and which are contained in Exhibit 6, the panel finds that the Claimant is a citizen of China and he is who he says he is on a balance of probabilities.

Credibility

[16]     The Claimant’s testimony regarding his introduction to Falun Gong, his Falun Gong practice in China, as well as his Falun Gong practice in Canada were consistent with his other evidence.

[17]     He testified that his initial hope was to return to China but after he found out from his wife that the PSB came to his home to look for him, he knew that he can no longer return to China. He testified that the PSB left a summons for him as per Exhibit 6. He also testified about the continued interest of the authorities in him back in China.

[18]     The panel notes that the Claimant claims to be a Falun Gong practitioner since [XXX] 2017. The Claimant testified that Falun Gong is a dual cultivation system. He testified about how Karma in our body creates illness and how Falun Gong could help transform Karma into Virtue (black substance transformed into white substance).

[19]     He testified about the concept of attachments and getting rid of personal attachments. He described how his friend showed him the Falun Gong exercises. He testified about some of the challenges he faced when learning the exercises. He testified that there is a total of five exercises. In the course of his testimony, he identified the first and second exercises.

[20]     He elaborated on how Karma is accumulated and how to get rid of its effects. He testified about the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance and how he applies these to his daily life. He talked about increasing one’s mind/nature.

[21]     He talked about Master Li Hongzhi and the Zhuan Falun. He testified about how his group in China had no access to the Zhuan Falun but instead utilized photocopies as part of their study. He also identified other books that are important to Falun Gong practitioners.

[22]     The Claimant also testified about his Falun Gong practice here in Canada. He testified about how he was introduced to a group of practitioners in Canada. The Claimant continues to practice the exercises at the park, he also attends a group to study the Zhuan Falun and he also distributes Falun Gong materials.

[23]     The Claimant’s profile as a Falun Gong practitioner was also supported by a number of photos depicting his practice in Canada and two letters from fellow practitioners.[2] The panel notes that the photographs appear to have been taken at numerous locations and times.

[24]     Similarly, the panel asked him why he continues to practice Falun Gong despite recovering from his health issues. He testified that practicing Falun Gong is a lifelong commitment and that one doesn’t stop practicing just because one gets/feels better.

[25]     The panel finds on a balance of probabilities that the Claimant is a genuine Falun Gong practitioner. He has a genuine desire and plans to continue his practice of Falun Gong into the future.

Well-Founded Fear of Persecution

[26]     The documentary evidence is clear that Falun Gong practitioners face persecution in China. Falun Gong is banned as an illegal group in China and the country conditions evidence is consistent in its reports that Falun Gong practitioners face arrest and even torture, according to several credible sources.[3]

[27]     Exhibit 3, Item 1.7 which is the United Kingdom’s Operational Guidance Note, discusses that Falun Gong practitioners over the years have been tortured, harassed, arbitrarily detained, imprisoned, and have faced other serious restrictions on their right to freedom of expression.

[28]     It explains that the Falun Gong movement has been outlawed in China, and the State regards it as an evil cult. Falun Gong practitioners have reportedly been subjected to detention, ill­ treatment, and it states that the risk of ill-treatment escalates significantly when a practitioner engages in activities that are reasonably likely to bring them to the notice of authorities. This includes the public practice of Falun Gong exercises, recruitment of new members, and dissemination of Falun Gong information. The risk of ill-treatment also increases when a person ignores a warning against continuing Falun Gong activity.

[29]     Exhibit 3, Item 2.1 the United States Department of State Report indicates that practitioners of Falun Gong reported systematic torture.

[30]     Exhibit 3, Item 12.2, indicates that the Chinese government has banned Falun Gong and labelled it an “evil cult”. Authorities regularly target Falun Gong practitioners and force them into labour camps. In detention, they suffer sexual assault, torture, violence and organ harvesting.

[31]     Therefore, the Panel finds that the Claimant’s fear is a well-founded one supported by personal and objective evidence.

[32]     The panel finds that the Claimant is a genuine Falun Gong practitioner on a balance of probabilities, and so he would face a serious possibility of persecution if he were to return to China.

State Protection

[33]     As the state is the agent of persecution, adequate state protection would not be available to the Claimant.

Internal Flight Alternative

[34]     Given that the Claimant is a genuine and ongoing Falun Gong practitioner, even if he were to relocate, his risk remains the same as the State’s control exists all over China.   Since the agent of persecution is the state, there is no internal flight alternative for the Claimant, as there is a serious possibility of persecution throughout the country.

CONCLUSION

[35]     For the above reasons, the panel finds that the Claimant is a Convention refugee, as he holds a well-founded fear of persecution on the basis of his membership in a particular social group, as a practitioner of Falun Gong. His claim is therefore accepted.


[1] Exhibit 2.

[2] Exhibit 6.

[3] Exhibit 3, National Documentation Package for China (20 December 2019) Items 2.1, 12.22 and 12.23.

Categories
All Countries Turkey

2020 RLLR 127

Citation: 2020 RLLR 127
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: November 16, 2020
Panel: Josée Bouchard
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Rebeka Lauks
Country: Turkey
RPD Number: TB8-30121
Associated RPD Number(s):
ATIP Number: A-2021-01106
ATIP Pages: 000071-000076

DECISION

[1]       MEMBER:  This is the decision for following Claimant, [XXX], File Number TB8-30121.  You are claiming to be a citizen of Turkey and are claiming refuge protection pursuant to section 96 and 97 (1) one of the Immigration and Refuge Protection Act. I have considered your testimony and the other evidence in the case.  And I am ready to render my decision orally.  I find that you have established a serious possibility of persecution in Turkey by virtue of your imputed political opinion and your membership in a particular social group namely because of your familiar relationship to your father. The specifics of your claim are said out in the narrative of your Basis of Claim Form filed as Exhibit 2. The following is a summary your allegations.

[2]       You are a citizen of Turkey. You fear persecution at the hands of Turkish authorities and members of the Justice and Development Party or AKP… AKP. Because of your imputed political opinion as a former [XXX] who is perceived to be a member or supporter of Gulenist Movement and oppose to the government and AKP… AKP. You also allege a fear of persecution at the hands of Turkish Authorities and Members of the AKP because of your membership with the particular social group namely your familiar relationship to your father who is under investigation for his imputed membership in the Gulenist Movement.  You allege that there is no state protection for you or an Internal Flight Alternative. Your personal identity as a citizen of Turkey has been established by your testimony and the supporting documents filed as Exhibit 1, namely your passport issued by the government of Turkey and your Turkish Identity Card. I find that on the balance of probabilities, identity and country of reference have been established. I find that there is a link between what you fear in one of grounds under section 96 of the Immigration and Refuge Protection Act, namely political opinion and membership in a particular social group. Therefore, I assessed your claim under section 96 of that act. The test under section 96, is whether there is a serious possibility of persecution should you return to Turkey and I have found that you have met that test.

[3]       In terms of your general credibility, I found you to be a credible witness and I therefore believe what you have alleged in your total… oral testimony in your Basis of Claim Form. Your evidence was detailed and consistent both internally and with your documentation. Throughout the hearing you were articulate, responsive and forthright. You are able to elaborate on your narrative and gave detailed explanations to the questions. Your claim was well supported and I know that no material inconsistencies or omissions searched at presumption of truthfulness could be rebutted.

[4]       Specifically you have established on a balance of probabilities of following. In [XXX] 2012, you joined Turkish Armed Forces as a [XXX]. You were also chosen to attend in [XXX] 2016, training at the [XXX] (phonetics) second main [XXX]. You filed documents in support of this claim. You heard about the July 15, 2016 coup attempt which according to the authorities, more specifically the Justice And Development Party or AKP was conducted by the Gulenist Movement. You heard about the attempt that day while visiting your parents. Your [XXX] ordered you to return to the [XXX] which you did that day. You were ordered to stay at the [XXX] until [XXX] 2016. On July 31, 2016, Decree 669 ordered the closer of ail military schools and aca… academies. All cadets of military academies and military high schools including [XXX] were dismissed from the military. You filed excerpts of Decree 669 in support of your claim.  The stated aim of the decree was to take the necessary measures to fight against terrorism. The AKP in power during attempted coup blamed the Gulenist Movement and labelled it a terrorist movement. You justified that the dismissed [XXX] were perceived as affiliated to a terrorist organisation the Gulenist Movement. Decree 669 provided that senior [XXX] up to graduate would still receive Diplomas from different Universities.

[5]       You received your Diploma from [XXX] University in [XXX].  The Diploma states that it is issued pursuant to Decree 669. You filed the Diploma as an exhibit. You believe that, this confirms that you have been a permanently blacklisted by the regime as a terrorist. You had several former [XXX] classmates who have had to flee Turkey and become refugees elsewhere who have been killed by lynching and who have been sentenced to life imprison for their imputed affiliation with the Gulenist Movement. In [XXX] 2017, you filed a petition to the Ankara 6th administrative court to get reinstated into the military. You filed as an exhibit the decision of the court rejecting your petition. On [XXX] 2018, the police raided the house of your closest friend and former [XXX] classmate. He had to flee to Germany, where he is now a refugee. That is when you realize that you would also be targeted. On [XXX] 2018, arrest warrants were released for 120 [XXX]. You hid until you had the means to leave for Canada on [XXX] 2018.

[6]       In [XXX] 2020, your uncle and father informed you that there is a warrant for your arrest. Your father tried to get further information about the charges, but was not provided with such information. You filed statements from your uncle and father and supported this claim along with an official document informing your father that the charges against you are confidential, but providing a file number for the case against you.

[7]       Before the coup attempt, your father was a [XXX] in the General Directorate of [XXX].   He was dismissed on [XXX] 2017 by decree 679. He later learned that… that he was named as Gulenist Movement follower. Your father filed a petition to the Ankara 16th administrative court to be reinstated into the [XXX]. You filed as an exhibit the decision of the Ankara 16th administrative court, rejecting your father’s petition. You filed the decision of the Ankara 25th administrative court supporting your claim that there is an on-going investigation into your father’s imputed involvement with the Gulenist Movement.  You testified that one of your former [XXX] classmates was arrested just last week by the Turkish authorities.

[8]       You also produced a significant amount of documentation in support of your claim. These documents include the following filed as Exhibit 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3, your [XXX] identification card supporting the claim that you were a [XXX] in the [XXX]. The authorities in Turkey announced that 95 percent of [XXX] were followers of the Gulenist Movement. Your [XXX] and [XXX] indicating that they were issued in accordance with decree 669. Your Turkish [XXX] student vacation document confirming that you stayed at the [XXX] (phonetics) second main [XXX] for two weeks following the coup attempt.

[9]       Record document from the Ankara 16th administrative court, supporting the claim that your father petitioned to reverse your dismissal as a [XXX]. A letter of support from a close friend and former [XXX] supporting the claim that he was targeted by the authorities and is now a refugee in Germany. It also supports that the claim that some of your former [XXX] colleagues were sentenced to life imprisonment after the coup attempt.

[10]     Letters from your and uncles supporting the claim that in [XXX] 2020, the authorities approached your uncle looking for you and told your uncle that there was an arrest warrant against you. A petition made by your father in [XXX] 2020, requesting to know the crime for which you are sought by police, the authorities released the number of the case against you, but no further information. Documents supporting your claim that your father was [XXX] with the General Directorate of [XXX] that he was suspended after the attempted coup and eventually dismissed. A decision from the 25th administrative court of Ankara from the summer of 2020 supporting a claim that there is an on-going investigation against your father. There is no reason for me to cast any doubt on the voracity of these documents and as such, I pla… place great weight on these documents to support the allegation and overall claim.

[11]     I find that your subjective fear is established by your credible testimony and I believe what you have alleged on a balance of probabilities.  The objective country reports are consistent with your evidence about the plight of former [XXX] who are imputed to be followers of the Gulenist Movement. The National Documentation package for Turkey dated March 31st, 2020 at exhibit 3 item 1.7 states that the Gulenist Movement is a term used to describe those who follow the US based Islamic Cleric Fethullah Gulen. The movement is not a political party neither is it a religion. The Gulenist Movement is believed to have a large number of sympathizers in Turkey, some estimate the number to be in millions.

[12]     In May 2016, the Turkish government declared that the Gulenist Movement was an illegal terrorist organisation and in June 2017, the Supreme Court appeal ruled that the Gulenist Movement is an armed terrorist organisation. The coup attempt of the 15th July, 2016 was attributed by the Turkish Government to members of Gulenist Movement.  A state of emergency was put in place in Turkey a few days after the coup. And this has been renewed since then. By September 2017, 21 emergency decrees had been issued and the scope of the emergency law had been broadened to include those who belong to, connect to or have contact with the Gulenist Movement.  One of the emergency decrees provided that, officials involving… involved in putting down the coup, tackling-related threats and implementing state of emergency measures would not face prosecution. Since the 2016 coup attempt, authorities have dismissed or suspended more than 45,000 police and military personnel, and more than 130,000 civil servants, dismissed one-third of the judiciary, arrested or imprisoned more than 80,000 citizens and closed more than 1,500 non-governmental organisations on terrorism-related grounds primarily for alleged ties to the movement of cleric Fethullah Gulen whom the government accuses of masterminding the coup attempt and designated by the government as the leader of the Fethullah terrorist organisation.

[13]     Exhibit 3, item 8.7 states that in the period between the unsuccessful coup in 2016 and March 2017, the Turkish government fired more than 22,000 sol… officers, soldiers, and cadets for alleged links with the Gulen Movement. In March 2017, the then Turkish Minister for National Defense announced that those fired consisted of 6,511 officers and 16,409 soldiers and military cadets. The latter group consisted of 4090 cadets at military colleges, 6,148 training centres for non-commissioned officers including privates and corporals and 6,179 at University Military Training Institutions.

[14]     In January 2019, the Turkish authorities reported that at least 58 Generals and 629 Senior Officers have been sentenced to life imprisonment for involvement in the failed coup and for links with the Gulenist Movement. In January 2019, the Turkish authority also arrested 63 people on charges of involvement with the Gulenist Movement including 46 helicopter pilots in active service. Earlier that month, more than 100 soldiers and former cadets at Military Training Institutions were arrested throughout Turkey.

[15]     The claimant filed at Exhibits 5.1 and 5.2, several recent articles about the continued persecution of former military cadets. For instance in September 2017, internet news reported that arrest warrants have been released for 69 former cadets. In November 2017, Turkish media Memurlar reported that 30 cadets were among the 240 taken into custody. In December 2017, Memurlar reported that dismissed cadets were among 62 suspects taken into custody. In March 2018, the Turkish states news agency Anadolu agency reported that former cadets were among the 19 suspects arrested in Manisa and Usak.  In March 2018, Anadolu reported that among 35 suspects apprehended for their imputed support of the Gulenist Movement were dismissed soldiers and military school students. In March 2018, The World Bulletin reported among 20 suspects arrested in the northern Kastamonu province were on duty soldiers and former cadets. In June 2018, a pro-Turkish news agency The Daily Sabah, reported that former military cadets were among the 102 suspects for which arrests warrants were issued. On July 3rd, 2018, Anadolu reported that a dismiss cadet was among the 13 suspects arrested in Eastern Turkey.

[16]     You feel being targeted by the Turkish authorities for imputed political opinion, but also for your relationship with your father who is targeted for his imputed membership into the Gulenist Movement.

[17]     The NDP or National Documentation Package for Turkey and Exhibit 3 at item 2.1 provides a basis for that fear. United States Department of State report notes that family members of targeted individuals are also at risk of persecution. It states that, using anti-terror legislation, the government targeted family members to exert pressure on wanted suspects. Government measures included cancelling the passports of family members of civil servants suspended or dismissed from state institutions as well as those who had fled authorities.

[18]     Exhibit 3 item 13.6, the United Kingdom’s Home Office reports that members of families of people who are critical of the government will be targeted.  If the police cannot find the person they are looking for, they will take another family member. This was very common during the emergency.  Families were threatened by phone and their houses were raided. A report of the Asylum Research Consultancy found at Exhibit 3 item 1.4 also notes following his visit to Turkey in September 2016, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights found that a series of measures of particular concern to the commissioner are those which target directly or are liable to affect family members of suspects in an automatic fashion.

[19]     In addition to the evictions termination of lease agreement and freezing up assets of the said suspects, which are likely to create unnecessary hardship and victimisation for family members. The commissioner notes other measures of an administrative nature such as a possibility of annulling passports of spouses of suspects who are themselves not under investigation and the unlimited access by administrative authorities to the personal data of family members of suspects.  This approach raises extremely serious concerns. The commissioner is worried that such measures will inevitably fuel the impression of guilt by association already voiced by many of their interlocutors. In the opinion of the commissioner, any measure treating family members of a suspect also as potential suspect should not exist in democratic society even during a state of emergency.

[20]     As you have established, your subjective fear and an objective basis for that fear, I find you will have established of well-founded fear of persecution.

[21]     I turn now to state protection. When making a refugee claim, the claimant must establish on a balance of probabilities that adequate state protection is not available. There is a presumption that state protection is available and the onus is on the claimant to provide and clear and convincing evidence to be part of such… such protection.

[22]     In this case, the agent of persecution is the state that is the persecution you would face should you return to Turkey as at the hand of authorities. This is supported in part by the investigation conducted by the authorities against the claimant’s father for his imputed political opinion as a supporter of the Gulenist Movement and also the evidence said that there is an arrest warrant against you for your imputed political opinion as a supporter of the Gulenist Movement. The country condition documents outlined in this decision also support the claim that the authorities are the perpetrators and persecutors of those involved or perceived to be involved in the Gulenist Movement.

[23]     Accordingly, I find that there is no state protection available for you. I have also considered whether a viable Internal Flight Alternative exists for you, the agent of persecution is the Turkish government. The evidence reviewed above confirms that oppressive treatment of those suspected of supporting the Gulen Movement is nationwide. I find that there is a serious possibility of persecution for you throughout tricky and therefore find that there is no viable Internal Flight Alternative.

[24]     In conclusion, based on the totality of the evidence, I find you to be a convention refugee because you have demonstrated a serious possibility of persecution in Turkey by virtue of your imputed political opinion and membership in a particular social group, namely your familial relationship with your father who is imputed to be a supporter of the Gulenist Movement. I accept your claim.

[25]     CLAIMANT: Thank you very much.

[26]     COUNSEL: Thank you Madam Member.

[27]     MEMBER: Welcome to Canada.

[28]     CLAIMANT: Thank you so much.

[29]     MEMBER: Thank you very much for your detailed testimony. (voice overlapping). Thank you Mr. Interpreter for coming at the last minute and doing such a good job on the interpretation.

[30]     INTERPRETER: Thank you Madam.

[31]     MEMBER:  And thank you Counsel, this was a very well documented file. And 1.           1 thank you for your work.

[32]     COUNSEL: Thank you.

[33]     MEMBER: And this concludes our hearing.

———- REASONS CONCLUDED ———-

Categories
All Countries Sri Lanka

2020 RLLR 126

Citation: 2020 RLLR 126
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: January 30, 2020
Panel: L. Hartslief
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Maureen Silcoff
Country: Sri Lanka
RPD Number: TB8-29465
Associated RPD Number(s): TB8-29491, TB8-29494 TB8-29495, TB8-29496
ATIP Number: A-2021-01106
ATIP Pages: 000066-000070

DECISION

[1]       MEMBER:    I have had an opportunity to review the evidence before me and I have decided to give an oral decision today. You will receive an unedited transcript of this oral decision in the mail in approximately three weeks and your counsel will also receive a copy and she can answer any related questions you may have at that time.

[2]       This is the decision for [XXX] File number TB8-29465. You are all claiming to be citizens of Sri Lanka and you are claiming refugee protection pursuant to Sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[3]       I have considered your testimony and the other evidence in the case as well as oral submissions from counsel.

[4]       I find that you are all Convention refugees for the reason that you have established there is a serious possibility of persecution in Sri Lanka based on your imputed antigovernment political opinion as suspected LTTE supporters.

[5]       By way of background you allege the following; you sir are a Sinhalese [XXX] and you met with several potential customers who are all young Tamil men. While these men were in your vehicle you were stopped at a police check point where the police found problems with your passengers identity documents.

[6]       You say the police then detained you and the Tamil men in your vehicle. During your ten day detention you were physically assaulted by six police officers and you were forced to attend multiple police stations to look at line ups of photographs and prisoners in an effort to identify alleged LTTE suspects.

[7]       After ten days of detainment you say you were released on the condition that you would report to the police station every month. However you did not obey those instructions and instead you and your family went into hiding and then you made your way to Canada within a few weeks.

[8]       After you left Sri Lanka and when you failed to report to the police station as instructed, you say the police visited your mother in law, searched the house and threatened to arrest you because of your disobedience if you were to return to Sri Lanka.

[9]       Your personal identities as citizens of Sri Lanka have been established by your testimony and the supporting documentation namely copies of your birth certificates, national identity cards and passports. While your name does appear slightly differently on your birth certificate you provided a reasonable explanation that your name has changed shortly after your birth and the evidence of this can clearly be seen on Paragraph 13 of your birth certificate.

[10]     I therefore find on a balance of probabilities that identity and country of reference have been established for all of you.

[11]     I find that there is a link between what you fear and one of the five convention grounds, specifically your imputed antigovernment political opinion as suspected LTTE supporters. This claim is therefore assessed under Section 96 of the act.

[12]     In terms of your general credibility I found you to be a credible witness and I therefore believe what you have alleged in your oral testimony and in your basis of claim form. You described in extensive detail the circumstances surrounding your meeting with the three potential customers your ride to drop off the customers and your eventual detention at the police station.

[13]     Not only were you able to provide a step by step description of what happened but your provided spontaneous details and additional aspects of the environment, clothing and emotions involved during these events.

[14]     You described your time at the police station and the punishment you received at the hands of the police. You described the weapons involved, the surrounding environment, the ill-treatment you received and the officers involved.

[15]     Finally you described the ongoing circumstances of your ten day detention including the cell conditions, the various trips to the police stations and your emotions during that time. Your description of events was provided in a detailed and straightforward manner and I have no reason to disbelieve your testimony.

[16]     You presented your testimony in a clear and consistent manner and you responded spontaneously to questioning.

[17]     In support of your testimony your provided medical documents describing your injuries as well as sworn affidavits from your parents regarding the difficulties your family has experienced.

[18]     In particular you provided a sworn affidavit from your mother in law which confirms that the police came to her house looking for you and when it was clear you and your family had left the country the police became angry and threatened to arrest you if you return.

[19]     Based on the evidence before me I’m satisfied that there is a serious possibility of persecution for you and your family members should you return to Sri Lanka. I’m satisfied that you have experienced past persecution at the hands of the police, I’m also satisfied that the Sri Lankan authorities have a record of your detention and once you enter the Sri Lankan airport you and your family will be flagged for disobeying police instructions.

[20]     The objective evidence regarding the country conditions in Sri Lanka is consistent with you allegations that there is a serious possibility of persecution if you return to Sri Lanka. I looked at a number of documents in the national documentation package dated March 29th 2019 as well as counsel’s country conditions documents which are in Exhibit 13.

[21]     The objective evidence at items 1.5, 2.1 and 10.9 are ail consistent with your allegation that perceived LTTE supporters are targeted by the state and there is continued monitoring and surveillance by Sri Lankan authorities as well as ongoing harassment of those who are suspected of supporting the LTTE regardless of their ethnicity.

[22]     In addition the objective evidence at Article, sorry at Item 14.1 supports your allegation that as you have been accused of violating Sri Lankan law by allegedly lying to the police and failing to report monthly as instructed you are now considered a person of interest to the Sri Lankan authorities and you and your family will likely be flagged at the airport and sent to the police directly from the airport.

[23]     In light of the fact that you are a Sinhalese family I have also considered the implications of the recent elections, specifically on you and your family members. The media articles that were submitted to me by counsel confirm that the new Gotabaya Rajapaksa government has not hesitated to arrest or detain any person regardless of their ethnicity if they are perceived to hold antigovernment political opinions.

[24]     For example according to an article found at Exhibit 13 the new president illegally detained an employee at the Swiss Embassy and acquired a list of names from her of Sri Lankan citizens who had fled the country as well as the names of people who had assisted them.

[25]     The new president has also imposed a travel ban on over seven hundred police officers and members of the Criminal Investigations Division for the mere fact that they were investigating him for human rights abuses.

[26]     The Centre for Policy Alternatives is quoted in this article as saying Sri Lanka is beginning a slow decent into something very frightening.

[27]     For these reasons based on consistent and credible evidence including the country condition documents I find your fear of persecution to be well founded.

[28]     For the reasons already stated I am satisfied that there is a serious possibility of persecution at the hands of the state should your return to Sri Lanka. As the state is the agent of persecution in your situation I am satisfied that you have rebutted the presumption of state protection because the state is unwilling to protect you and you cannot access or otherwise expect to receive adequate state protection throughout Sri Lanka.

[29]     Furthermore as the state is the agent of persecution I’m satisfied that it would be unsafe for you to seek refuge anywhere else in Sri Lanka. Therefore there is no viable internal flight alternative.

[30]     Based on the forgoing analysis l find that you have established there is a serious possibility of persecution on a convention ground namely your imputed antigovernment political opinion as suspected LTTE supporters.

[31]     I therefore find that you are all Convention refugees and I accept all of your claims. Thank you very much, have a wonderful afternoon.

———- REASONS CONCLUDED ———-

Categories
All Countries Nigeria

2020 RLLR 125

Citation: 2020 RLLR 125
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: February 11, 2020
Panel: S. Williams
Counsel for the Claimant(s): A. Akinyemi
Country: Nigeria
RPD Number: TB8-15998
Associated RPD Number(s):
ATIP Number: A-2021-01106
ATIP Pages: 000048-000056

REASONS FOR DECISION

INTRODUCTION

[1]       These are the reasons for the decision in the claim of [XXX] who claims to be a citizen of Nigeria, and is claiming refugee protection pursuant to sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).[1]

[2]       In rendering these reasons, the panel has considered and applied the Chairperson’s Guidelines on Women Refugee Claimants Fearing Gender-Related Persecution,[2] and applied the Chairperson’s Guidelines on Proceedings Before the IRB Involving Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression.[3]

ALLEGATIONS

[3]       The claimant alleges that she faces persecution at the hands of Nigerian authorities and members of Nigerian society on account of her sexual orientation as a lesbian. The claimant also alleged that she faces a risk of forced female genital mutilation (FGM) at the hands of her paternal relatives.

[4]       While the claimant has identified a fear of FGM, the panel finds that the determinative issue in this claim is the claimant’s sexual orientation. Therefore, the reasons for this decision are centered on findings about the claimant’s profile as a lesbian. The panel will not render findings surrounding the claimant’s fear of FGM.

DETERMINATION

[5]       The panel finds that the claimant is a Convention refugee as she has established a serious possibility of persecution on account of her membership in a particular social group, as a lesbian woman.

ANALYSIS

Identity

[6]       The panel finds that the claimant’s identity as a national of Nigeria is established by the claimant’s oral testimony and documents filed in evidence, including the claimant’s Nigerian Birth Certificate.[4]

Credibility

[7]       The panel finds the claimant to be a credible witness and therefore accepts what the claimant has alleged in support of her claim. When a claimant swears to the truth of certain allegations, this creates a presumption that those allegations are true unless there be reason to doubt their truthfulness.[5] The claimant testified in a straightforward manner and, there were no relevant inconsistencies in the claimant’s testimony or contradictions between testimony and the other evidence before the panel which have not been satisfactorily explained.

[8]       The claimant testified that while she was in Nigeria she came to realise her sexual orientation, that she is a lesbian, at the age of 10 or 11 years old. She stated that she initially thought something was wrong with her because all of her friends would talk about boys, yet she would think about girls. The claimant testified about the challenges she faced in Nigeria, stating that she would often try to hide herself and stay away from people that she found attractive. The claimant testified that her parents hold strong religious values and she was aware that her sexual orientation would not be accepted in her community.

[9]       The claimant stated that she eventually confided in her mother about her sexual orientation. However, at that time, the more pressing matter that was concerning the claimant’s mother was fear of forced FGM of the claimant. The claimant stated that her paternal grandmother comes from a line of traditional worshipers who carry out female genital mutilation. The claimant alleged that her paternal relatives attempted to force her to undergo FGM, with the intention of subjecting the claimant to the FGM procedure in [XXX] 2015. The claimant alleged that her mother arranged for her to flee Nigeria on [XXX] 2015 at the age [XXX] years old in order to avoid forced FGM.

[10]     The claimant moved to the United States where she resided, without legal status, in the care of her mother’s cousin, Ms. E. The claimant alleged that while in United States, she became involved in a romantic relationship with a same sex partner in [XXX] 2015. The claimant testified that she was confronted by Ms. E on [XXX] 2018, regarding the nature of her relationship with her female friend from school, at which time the claimant admitted that she was involved in a same sex relationship with this female. The claimant alleged that Ms. E became upset about her sexual orientation and told the claimant to leave her home immediately. The claimant then fled to Canada where she had family friends. The claimant arrived in Canada on [XXX] 2018.

[11]     The claimant stated that her relatives in Nigeria have become aware of her sexual orientation and her father has disowned her. The claimant stated that members of her family and community in Nigeria have vowed to kill her for bringing shame to the family name.

Failure to Claim Asylum Does Not Undermine the Claimant’s Subjective Fear

[12]     The claimant testified that she resided in United States between the period of [XXX] 2015 to [XXX] 2018 and did not claim asylum. The claimant testified that the reason she did not claim asylum upon arrival in United States is because she did not know anything about asylum. She stated that as she became older, she realized she did not have legal status in United States however she was unaware that she could speak with a lawyer to apply for legal status. The claimant testified that she never tried to claim asylum because she did not know how to do so. The claimant testified that she also experienced fear that she may not be granted legal status in the United States. She stated that these fears stemmed from her understanding of the president of the United States administrative views on immigrants at the time.

[13]     The panel has assessed whether the claimant’s failure to claim asylum in United States immediately upon entry to United States undermines the claimant’s subjective fear. Considering the claimant’s personal circumstances, including the fact that she was [XXX] years old upon arrival in united states, traveled to united states on her own, had limited education, and was allegedly fleeing a risk of gender-based violence, the panel finds that the claimant’s explanation for not claiming asylum upon entry to United States is reasonable. The panel has considered whether the claimant’s failure to claim asylum in United States when she became older undermines the claimant’s subjective fear. The claimant was born [XXX] and turned [XXX] years old in July 2018. The claimant entered Canada on [XXX] 2018. Therefore, the claimant was a minor during the entire time spent residing in United States. Considering the claimant’ s age, level of maturity, lack of parental accompaniment, and limited knowledge of the United State’s asylum claim system, the panel finds that the claimant’s explanation for failure to claim asylum, after spending approximately two and a half years in United States, is satisfactory. Therefore, the panel finds that the claimant’s failure to claim asylum in United States does not undermine the claimant’s subjective fear.

Status in United States

[14]     The claimant testified that she entered the United States illegally by use of travel documents belonging to her cousin, who is a citizen of United States. The claimant testified that she does not have any form of legal status in United States and has never applied for legal status in United States. RPD search results revealed no history of Temporary Visa Application attached to the claimant’s name. Fingerprints of the claimant submitted to the US Department of Homeland Security database resulted in a result of ‘no match’. In light of the evidence before the panel, the panel finds on a balance of probabilities that the claimant does not have legal status in United States.

Documentary Evidence

[15]     The claimant was asked whether she has any documentary evidence to demonstrate communications with her former same sex partner who she dated in United States. The claimant testified that she does not have any evidence of communications as she deleted the messages. The claimant testified that the reason she deleted all messages between herself and her former partner was due to the fact that she tried to be as discreet as possible. The claimant stated that her family members openly expressed disgust for any form of homosexual activity. The claimant testified that she kept her same sex relationship a secret from her relatives in United States. The panel finds the claimant’s explanation for a lack of documentary evidence to be reasonable. Considering that the claimant was residing in a familial environment that was discriminatory towards lesbian and gay individuals, the panel finds that it is reasonable that the claimant would delete evidence of communications between herself and her same sex partner.

[16]     The clamant provided support letters from her mother and cousin, including photo identification of each.[6] The letters corroborate the information provided in the claimant’s claim.

LGBTQ+ Services and Experience in Canada

[17]     The claimant testified that she is not aware of any LGBTQ+ organizations in Canada. She stated that she has never considered attending any type of LGBTQ+ services as she is not used to engaging in such programs. The claimant declared that she wants to be open about her sexuality in Canada however she finds it challenging to be completely open about her sexuality after having to be secretive about her sexual orientation for her entire life. The claimant testified that she does not use any social media apps to meet people in Canada. The claimant testified that she was involved in two same sex relationships during her adolescence and at this time she is single and not interested in entering a relationship at this time.

[18]     The panel finds the claimant to be a credible witness and accepts that the above noted events have occurred as alleged by the claimant in her oral and written testimonies. Accordingly, the panel finds that the claimant has established on a balance of probabilities that she is a lesbian woman.

Objective Basis

[19]     The panel has assessed the objective basis for the claimant’s fear of persecution in Nigeria. In making the assessment, the panel must consider the claimant’s personal circumstances and vulnerabilities, and in this regard, the panel refers to the UNHCR Handbook. Guidance from the UNHCR Handbook on Determining Refugee Status, and Canadian jurisprudence, indicates that discrimination can amount to persecution cumulatively when the following conditions are met. First, there must be a number of discriminatory acts which take place in a general atmosphere of insecurity in the country of origin. The discriminatory acts must be of such a nature that they are substantially prejudicial to the person concerned. Where the cumulative nature of discrimination results in an insecure future for the person concerned, this constitutes persecution.

[20]     The documentary evidence clearly states that same sex relationships are criminalized in Nigeria. The Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act enacted in January 2014, effectively renders illegal all forms of activity supporting or promoting LGBTIQ rights.[7] Federal legislation prohibits a marriage contract or civil union entered into between persons of the same sex and provides penalties for the solemnisation and witnessing of same thereof.[8] A person who enters into a same sex marriage or union is liable on conviction to a term of 14 years imprisonment. Furthermore, a person who witnesses or is involved in any form of organization, club, society, or meetings surrounding same sex relationships is liable on conviction to a term of 10 years of imprisonment.

[21]     The objective evidence addresses the social stigma surrounding same sex relationships in Nigeria. Sources indicate that any sexual orientation that is not heterosexual is considered to be unnatural, demonic, and immoral in Nigeria.[9] Sources indicate that many LGBT individuals enter heterosexual relationships to “cover” for same-sex relationships. Bisexual individuals may marry members of the opposite sex due to societal pressures to marry and have children as well, and due to homophobic persecution, stigma, and in order to avoid suspicion of having a non-heterosexual orientation.[10]

[22]     In summary, the objective country condition evidence supports a conclusion that there is a clear objective basis for the claimant’ s fear of persecution on account of her sexual orientation as a lesbian. Accordingly, the panel finds that the claimant has a well-founded fear of persecution.

STATE PROTECTION

[23]     States are presumed to be capable of protecting their citizens, except in situations where the country is in a state of complete breakdown. The responsibility to provide international (or surrogate) protection only becomes engaged when national or state protection is unavailable to the claimant. To rebut the presumption of state protection, a claimant must provide “clear and convincing” evidence of the state’s inability to protect its citizens. A claimant is required to approach the state for protection if protection might reasonably be forthcoming. However, a claimant is not required to risk their life seeking ineffective protection of a state, merely to demonstrate that ineffectiveness.[11]

[24]     In this case, the claimant fears persecution at the hands of Nigerian authorities and the Nigerian community because of the fact that individuals involved in same-sex relationship are criminalized and ostracized in Nigeria. As the state is the agent of persecution, the panel finds that it would be objectively unreasonable for the claimant to seek the protection of the state in light of the claimant’s particular circumstances.

INTERNAL FLIGHT ALTERNATIVE

[25]     The panel has considered whether a viable internal flight alternative exists for the claimant in Nigeria. On the evidence before the panel, the panel finds that there is a serious possibility of persecution throughout Nigeria. The Federal laws of Nigeria enforce the criminalization of same sex relationships, and are applicable throughout the country. Therefore, the test fails on the first prong, and a viable internal flight alternative does not exist for the claimant in Nigeria.

DECISION

[26]     For these reasons, the panel finds that the claimant faces a risk of persecution if she returns to Nigeria. Accordingly, the panel finds [XXX] to be a Convention refugee pursuant to Section 96 of the Immigration and refugee protection act. Therefore, the claim is accepted.


[1] Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27, as amended, sections 96, 97(1)(a) and 97(1)(b).

[2] Chairperson’s Guideline 4: Women Refugee Claimants Fearing Gender-Related Persecution: Update.

[3] Chairperson’s Guideline 9: Proceedings Before the IRB Involving Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression, May 1, 2017

[4] Exhibit 1, Package of Information from the Referring CBSA / IRCC

[5] (Maldonado [1980] 2.F.C. 302 (C.A.))

[6] Exhibit 4

[7] National Documentation Package, Nigeria, 29 November 2019, tab 6.1: Treatment of sexual minorities, including legislation, state protection, and support services; the safety of sexual minorities living in Lagos and Abuja (February 2012-October 2015). Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. 13 November 2015. NGA105321.E.

[8] National Documentation Package, Nigeria, 29 November 2019, tab 6.4: Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, 2013. Nigeria. 2013.

[9] National Documentation Package, Nigeria, 29 November 2019, tab 6.7: Information on how bisexuality is understood and perceived in Nigeria; whether bisexuality is distinguished from both male and female homosexuality (2014-June 2015). Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. 9 September 2015. NGA105219.E.

[10] National Documentation Package, Nigeria, 29 November 2019, tab 6. 7: Information on how bisexuality is understood and perceived in Nigeria; whether bisexuality is distinguished from both male and female homosexuality (2014-June 2015). Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. 9 September 2015. NGA105219.E.

[11] (Ward [1993] 2 S.C.R. 689)

Categories
All Countries Syria

2020 RLLR 124

Citation: 2020 RLLR 124
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: February 4, 2020
Panel: R. Bebbington
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Joo Eun Kim
Country: Syria
RPD Number: TB7-20660
Associated RPD Number(s): TB7-20661, TB7-20662 TB7-20663, TB7-20664
ATIP Number: A-2021-01106
ATIP Pages: 000043-000047

DECISION

On February 4, 2020, the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) heard the claim of [XXX], [XXX]and [XXX] who claim refugee protection under sections 96 and 97 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). On that same day, the panel rendered its oral SPLIT decision and Reasons for decision. This is the written version of the oral decision and Reasons that have been edited for clarity, spelling, grammar and syntax with added references to the documentary evidence and relevant case law where appropriate.

[1]       MEMBER:    Back on the record. I’ve considered your testimony in this claim and other evidence and I’m ready to render my decision orally.

[2]       These are the reasons for the decision in the claims of [XXX] and [XXX] who claim to be citizens of Syria and are claiming refugee protection pursuant to Sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.[1]

[3]       I’ve appointed [XXX] as the designated representative of the minor children, [XXX] and [XXX].

ALLEGATIONS

[4]       You state you’ve lived in Kuwait until 2017 when your work permit was cancelled. You have no path to citizenship in Kuwait. You allege that you are being sought by government forces in Syria.

[5]       Your full allegations are set out in your basis of claim form narrative and its amendments.[2]

DETERMINATION:

[6]       I note that one of the claimants [XXX] is a citizen of the United States. The board finds that the claimant has not provided any credible or trustworthy evidence to establish that he would be persecuted in the United States pursuant to Section 96 of the IRPA or be at risk pursuant to Section 97 of the IRPA.

[7]       I find there is insufficient evidence to establish that there is more than a mere possibility of persecution in the US for the American minor claimant. The American minor claimant’s request for refugee protection is rejected.

[8]       I find on balance that the remaining claimants would be subjected personally to a risk to their lives or a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment should they return to Syria for the following reasons.

IDENTITY:

[9]       I find that your identities other than that for the US born claimant, as nationals of Syria is established by your testimony and supporting documentation filed including your passports, a series of Syrian country documents as well as documents pertaining to Kuwait.[3]

CREDIBILITY:

[10]     I find you to be credible witnesses and therefore believe what you have alleged in support of your claim. You testified in a straightforward manner; there were no relative inconsistencies in your testimony or contradictions between your testimony and the other evidence before me which have not been satisfactorily explained.

[11]     When a claimant swears to the truth of certain allegations this creates a presumption that those allegations are true unless there’s a reason to doubt their truthfulness, this is found in Federal Court case law in Maldonado.[4]

OBJECTIVE BASIS OF FUTURE RISK:

[12]     The Situation of Sunni’s in Syria.

[13]     The Assad family has ruled Syria since former president Hafez Al-Assad seized power in Ba’athist coup in 1970 his son Bashar Al-Assad, became president in 2000 following the death of his father.

[14]     The Assad’s hail from the Alawis’ an off shoot of Shia Islam that represents approximately thirteen percent of Syria’s population. Along their rise to power the Assad family placed loyal Alawis’ in key positions throughout the government including in the security intelligence and military sectors.

[15]     Both Assad regimes spent decades forging strategic ties with prominent Sunni Muslim families and religious authorities in order to consolidate their hold on political and economic power.

[16]     This fragile balance of religious ethnic and ideological identities persisted for decades until it finally collapsed in early 2011 as mass uprisings proliferated throughout.

[17]     Despite the largely non-violent nature of the anti regime demonstrations that spread across the country beginning in March of that year, the Assad government responded with a violent crackdown that represented peaceful movement, while allowing armed rebel factions to dominate the uprisings as the situation deadly devolved into a full-scale civil war later that year.[5]

[18]     The Syrian conflict has been described by a number of sources as having evolved to a largely sectarian conflict.[6]

[19]     As a consequence of the complex sectarian dynamics of the countries ongoing civil war more than five hundred thousand people have died and more than twelve million people have been displaced.

[20]     Sunni Muslims while they constitute the large majority of the population in Syria are reported as being disproportionately targeted by the government and its allied militias that are largely viewing religious affiliation as a proxy for political beliefs and assume that most Sunni’s support, supported the opposition to its rule.[7]

[21]     There were continued reports of war waged by the Alawis’ dominated government against the opposition forces and terrorist groups resulted in significant casualties among the majority Sunni population.

[22]     The government continued its widespread and systematic use of unlawful killings including the repeated use of chemical weapons and forced disappearances, torture and arbitrary detention to punish perceived opponents including civilians the majority of whom were Sunni Muslims.

[23]     Sources report that the government and its allies have killed, arrested and physically abused members of the Sunni Muslim community and have seized property of those who fled with the explicit intention of permanently displacing these individuals and change in the religious demography of these areas by populating the areas with Shia and Alwaite’s residents.[8]

[24]     Media and academic experts said the government continued to portray the armed resistance and sectarian terms saying the opposition protestors and fighters were associated with extreme Islamic factions and terrorists seeking to eliminate the country’s religious minority groups and its secular approach to governance.[9]

[25]     There is little indication in the evidence at the disposal of the panel that the situation has markedly improved since the production of these reports.

[26]     Based on the credibility of your allegations, the documentary evidence as I’ve set out above I find you have established a future risk that you will be subjected to harm.

STATE PROTECTION:

[27]     The panel is of the opinion that in light of the above described situation presently prevailing in Syria, the Syrian state can be described as being in a state approaching complete breakdown. Consequently, the presumption to the effect that the state is capable of protecting its citizens does not apply in the present case.[10]

[28]     Hence in that content given the fact that the state is in some cases the agent of persecution the panel concludes there is clear and convincing evidence the claimants would not be able to obtain adequate protection if they would be in danger in Syria.

[29]     I find that it would be objectively unreasonable for the claimants to seek the protection of the state in light of your particular circumstances.

INTERNAL FLIGHT ALTERNATIVE:

[30]     I have considered whether a viable internal flight alternative exists for you. Given the fact that the principal claimant’ s fear of persecution is based in his credible testimony, that he is being sought by the Syrian authorities aside from his identity as a Sunni Muslim, a consideration for an IFA in all zones under the control of the Syrian state is not relevant to the present case as it can be assumed that the claimant and his family would face persecution in all of these areas.

[31]     Moreover, the panel is of the opinion that it would not be viable in the present circumstances given the profile of the claimants to establish themselves in areas under the control of non-state actors.

[32]     On the evidence before me, I find it is not objectively reasonable in all the circumstances including those particular you for you to seek refuge in Syria for the reasons I have described.

CONCLUSION:

[33]     In conclusion, based on the analysis above, I conclude that you are persons in need of protection and accordingly I accept your claims.

[34]     Thank you. You will receive a copy of my decision in the next few weeks so it will be transcribed, it will come back to my desk and I’ll sign off on it. I will put in any applicable references, correct any of my grammatical errors and it will then be provided to you.

———- REASONS CONCLUDED ———-


[1] Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27 as amended, sections 96 and 97(1).

[2] Exhibit 2, Basis of Claim (BOC) Form (TB7-20660), received September 6, 2017; Exhibit 7, BOC Amendment, received November 22, 2017; Exhibit 12, BOC Amendment, received January 27, 2020.

[3] Exhibit 13, Claimants’ Personal Supporting Documents, received January 27, 2020.

[4] Maldonado v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration), [1980] 2 F.C. 302 (C.A.); 31 N.R. 34 (F.C.A.); Gill v. Canada (MCI), 2004 FC 1498; Orelien v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration) [1992] 1 F.C. 592 (C.A.); (1991), 15 Imm. L.R. (2d) 1 (F.C.A.).

[5] Exhibit 3, National Documentation Package (NDP) for Syria, (September 30, 2019), Item 12.1.

[6] Ibid., Item 12.8.

[7] Ibid., Item 12.1.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Canada (Attorney General) v. Ward, [1993] 2 S.C.R. 689, 103 D.L.R. (4th) 1, 20 Imm. L.R. (2d) 85.

Categories
All Countries Turkey

2020 RLLR 123

Citation: 2020 RLLR 123
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: February 12, 2020
Panel: Jeffrey Brian Gullickson
Counsel for the Claimant(s): N/A/S.O.
Country: Turkey
RPD Number: MB9-15978
Associated RPD Number(s):
ATIP Number: A-2021-01106
ATIP Pages: 000039-000042

REASONS FOR DECISION

INTRODUCTION

[1]       [XXX] is claiming refugee protection pursuant to sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. His passport proves his identity and that he is a citizen of Turkey.

ALLEGATIONS

[2]       He was a practicing [XXX] in Turkey and a supporter of the Hizmet movement since age

13. His family were supporters as well. His father and brother were suspended from their jobs and criminally charged in 2016 for suspected connections to a terrorist organization in relation to the Hizmet or Fehtullah Gullen movement after the failed coup of 2016. The claimant [XXX] father in his court case. The father was convicted and sentenced to more than six years imprisonment and his appeal was rejected.

[3]       The claimant who had not been formally accused of crimes in Turkey, feared being discovered or accused of being a Hizmet follower like his father. Some of the claimant’s [XXX] had already been accused and arrested.

[4]       After his father’s failed appeal, the claimant left Turkey for his safety and the claimant made a refugee claim in Canada.

[5]       After arriving in Canada, he testified in his refugee hearing the police came looking for him at his home and office and that an arrest warrant has been issued against him in Turkey.

DETERMINATION

[6]       The claimant is a “Convention refugee“. He established a serious possibility of persecution on account of his political opinion (Hizmet supporter or follower).

ANALYSIS

Credibility

[7]       The claimant was sufficiently credible as a witness regarding his allegation that he is a Hizmet follower or supporter.

[8]       There were several other areas where the claimant was not credible but those elements were not determinative and it was necessary to give the claimant the benefit of the doubt for those other elements. An example of a non-credible element that was not determinative was his late disclosure in his hearing testimony where he testified that he, two months ago, became aware that he was the subject of an arrest warrant in Turkey, though he had declared at the start of the hearing that his basis of claim (BOC) form was “complete”, where there was no mention of an arrest warrant against the claimant in his BOC and where his BOC clearly instructs him to make an update of his BOC if there is new information to submit in his hearing.

[9]       What I retained as credible was that the claimant probably supported the Hizmet movement, as his father and brother did and for which his father received a lengthy prison sentence.

[10] The claimant submitted probative evidence in support of his claim. He submitted court documents showing the charges against his father, where the claimant was the [XXX], and against his brother and a Turkish government decree naming his father as an accused in association with a terrorist organization and association with FETO (Gullen movement) and its members (Document #4).

[11]     Having considered all of the evidence, I conclude that the claimant is not the subject of an arrest warrant in Turkey, he was not accused of connections to the Gullen movement, but that his father was and the claimant himself was forced to hide his support for the Gullen or Hizmet movement in whatever degree he supported Hizmet so not to be accused or arrested in Turkey.

[12]     The National Documentation Packages for Turkey (NDP), dated 29 March 2019, shows that the current government in Turkey has forcefully repressed perceived political opponents such as the Gullen movement, including abuse and detention of their friends or family members (NDP, tabs 1.7 and 4.6). The NDP shows that Turkish authorities are reported to have committed abuses and serious mistreatment of detainees (NDP, tabs 1.7, 10.1 and 10.2). Political dissidents have been severely dealt with by the governing power in Turkey (NDP, tabs 4.5 and 13.1).

State Protection

[13]     There is clear and convincing evidence before me that the state is unable or unwilling to provide the claimant with adequate protection, for the reasons stated above.

Internal Flight Alternative

[14]     On the evidence before me, I find that there is a serious possibility of persecution throughout Turkey for the claimant, for the reasons stated above.

CONCLUSION

[15]     The claimant is a “Convention refugee“.

[16]     I accept his claim.

Categories
All Countries Palestine

2020 RLLR 122

Citation: 2020 RLLR 122
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: February 18, 2020
Panel:
Counsel for the Claimant(s):
Country: Palestine
RPD Number: MB9-15304,
Associated RPD Number(s): MB9-15315, MB9-15342, MB9-15345, MB9-15346
ATIP Number: A-2021-01106
ATIP Pages: 000025-000038

[1]       MEMBER:    This is the decision of the Refugee Protection Division in the claims of [XXX], his wife, [XXX], and their children, [XXX] and [XXX]. Principal file number MB9-15304.

[2]       The claimants are stateless Palestinians with the exception of [XXX], who is a citizen of the United States.

[3]       They all claim refugee protection m Canada pursuant to sections 96 and 97(1) of the

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[4]       Prior to the start of the hearing, [XXX] was named as the designated representative for his three children, who are minors.

Determination

[5]       I have considered your testimony and the other evidence in the case and I am prepared to render my decision orally.

[6]       A written version of these reasons will be provided to you by mail at a later date.

[7]       I find that [XXX] and [XXX] have established on a balance of probabilities that they face a well-founded fear of persecution in their country of former habitual residence due to their nationality or ethnicity as stateless Palestinians.

[8]       Your claims are therefore accepted.

[9]       With respect to the claim of [XXX], it has not been established that she faces a serious possibility of persecution, or on a balance of probabilities, a risk to her life, or risk of cruel or unusual treatment or punishment, or danger of torture, in the United States.

[10]     Her claim is therefore denied.

Allegations

[11]     Your allegations are detailed in your Basis of Claim forms.

[12]     In summary, [XXX] was born in a refugee camp in South Lebanon in [XXX] to Palestinian parents.

[13]     After completing his university studies in Turkey, [XXX] went back to Lebanon to find work, but was refused several opportunities on account of his status as a Palestinian refugee.

[14]     In [XXX] 2000, he obtained a visa to travel to the U.A.E. Once there, he found a job and remained in the U.A.E. until his final departure in [XXX] of 2019.

[15]     [XXX] was born in Lebanon in [XXX] to Palestinian parents.

[16]     In 1987 she and her family fled Lebanon and travelled to the U.A.E.

[17]     [XXX] and [XXX] met in the U.A.E. and they married in 2003.

[18]     In 2014, [XXX] became friends with a work colleague by the name of [XXX] (Ph.).

[19]     In [XXX] of 2016, [XXX] travelled to Lebanon in order to renew his Lebanese travel document.

[20]     He was to go for an interview with a Lebanese official and members of the Hezbollah.

[21]     Considering that [XXX] worked in the field of [XXX] for nearly two decades in the U.A.E. and was familiar with various military bases, he was told to provide information about military sites in the U.A.E. to [XXX], who had ties with the Hezbollah.

[22]     [XXX] returned to the U.A.E. with the intention of not cooperating with the Lebanese authorities and never going back to Lebanon.

[23]     In [XXX] of 2019, [XXX] was summoned by the [XXX] Services.

[24]     He was questioned about his relationship with [XXX].

[25]     [XXX] was told that he was no longer welcome in the U.A.E. and that he and his family had to leave.

[26]     On [XXX] 2019, [XXX] along with his wife and children, travelled from the U.A.E. to the U.S.A.

[27]     On [XXX] 2019, the claimants crossed the Canada/U.S. border and applied for refugee status upon entry.

Identity

[28]     The personal and national identity of [XXX], as a citizen of the U.S., is established on a balance of probabilities by her birth certificate from the State of Hawaii, her U.S. passport, and her U.A.E. resident visa that are on file.

[29]     I find that the other claimants have established their personal and national identities as stateless Palestinians based on their UNRWA Family Registration Card, their Palestinian refugee cards, as well as the birth certificates of [XXX] and [XXX].

Countries of Former Habitual Residence

[30]     In cases where a claimant is stateless, an examination of the claimant’s countries of formal habitual residence is required.

[31]     As far as to finding what constitutes a country of former habitual residence, established jurisprudence states that:

[32]     “While claimants — a claimant needs to have established a significant period of de facto residence in a country of former habitual residence, the term implies a situation where a stateless person was admitted to a given country with a view to a continuing residence of some duration.”

[33]     With this in mind, I have considered whether Lebanon and the U.A.E. may qualify as countries of former habitual residence for the stateless claimants.

[34]     Both the adult claimants were born in Lebanon.

[35]     [XXX] spent approximately 20 years in Lebanon and has a variety of documents from the Lebanese authorities which confirms that he was admitted to Lebanon with the view of continuing residence.

[36]     From 2000 to 2019, he lived and worked in the U.A.E. And although he alleges he can no longer return there, the fact remains that he did establish de facto residence in the U.A.E. and was admitted with a view to continue residence there.

[37]     I therefore consider both the U.A.E. and Lebanon as countries of former habitual residence for [XXX].

[38]     As for [XXX], while she was born in Lebanon, she only spent four years there.

[39]     Nevertheless, the Federal Court, in the decision Al-Khateeb, stated that:

[40]     “Significant period of de facto residence can mean something other than a substantial period of time and a short period can be significant.”

[50]     I’ve considered [XXX] period of time in Lebanon to be significant, considering that she continues to have official ties to Lebanon as a resident of that country and a recognized refugee by the Lebanese Republic.

[51]     I therefore consider Lebanon to be a country of former habitual residence for [XXX].

[52]     I also considered the U.A.E. to be a country of former habitual residence for [XXX], given that she lived there for approximately three decades.

[53]     As for [XXX] and [XXX], I also find that their countries of former habitual residence are Lebanon and the U.A.E.

[54]     While they did not reside in Lebanon for an extended period of time, as their parents did, they have spent time there and they are recognized as residents of Lebanon by the Lebanese authorities, as indicated in the Lebanese refugee cards and their UNRWA Family Registration Cards.

[55]     Given the two identified countries of former habitual residence in this case, I will examine if the claimants, other than [XXX], would suffer persecution in Lebanon, and if so, whether they have the right to return to the United Arab Emirates.

Credibility

[56]     Testimony provided under oath is presumed to be truthful, unless there is a reason for doubting its truthfulness.

[57]     The adult claimants were each genuine, sincere, and candid  in their testimony. There was no attempt to embellish or exaggerate their claims.

[58]     Although [XXX]–[XXX] testified as to the harassment and discrimination he suffered in Lebanon.

[59]     He also explained the fears that he has for his wife and children should they accompany him to Lebanon.

[60]     The allegations regarding the harassment and discrimination suffered by Palestinians in Lebanon and their limited to access to employment, education, and health care is consistent with the documentary evidence in the National Documentation Package for Lebanon. I refer to the documents in section 13 of the National Documentation Package for Lebanon.

[61]     I also note that [XXX] has provided a variety of documents regarding his work experience in the U.A.E.

[62]     For these reasons, I find the claimants have established their allegations on a balance of probabilities.

Section 96 Analysis for the Stateless Claimants

[63]     The determinative issue for me in these claims is whether, as stateless Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, the claimants face a forward-looking serious possibility of persecution on the basis of their Palestinian nationality. This includes a serious possibility of cumulative discrimination amounting to persecution.

[64]     For the reasons outlined above, I find that you have established your identities as stateless Palestinians whose former habitual residence is Lebanon.

[65]     I find that based on the objective country evidence regarding the treatment of stateless Palestinians in Lebanon, you all face a serious possibility of cumulative discrimination amounting to persecution.

[67]     Item 13.1 of the National Documentation Package for Lebanon is a Response to Information Request which cites the U.S. Department of State Report in saying that:

[68]     “There is widespread and systematic discrimination against Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.”

[69]     The same document cites sources which state that:

[70]     “Palestinians in Lebanon are more at risk of arbitrary detention, torture, and kidnapping.”

[71]     And that:

[72]     “Palestinians lack basic social, economic, political, and civil rights.”

[73]     Item 13.4 of the National Documentation Package, another Response to Information Request, reports that:

[74]     “Discriminatory policies against Palestinians in Lebanon are systematic and Palestinians have been discriminated against by the Lebanese state for decades.  There are few signs that this will improve. Palestinian refugees are characterized as poor or often live in extreme poverty and are economically disadvantaged.”

[75]     Item 13.2 in the National Documentation Package for Lebanon, a more recent UNHCR report states that:

[76]     “Palestinian refugees in Lebanon reportedly continued to face acute socioeconomic

deprivation and legal barriers to their full enjoyment of a broad range of human rights.

[77]     Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are reported to have historically been marginalized and excluded from key aspects of social, political, and economic life, with no right to own immovable property, severely curtailed access to public services such as health and education, and restrictions regarding specific professions and limited job opportunities.”

[78]     Finally, Item 13.7 of the National Documentation Package for Lebanon, a Danish Immigration Service Reports cites an international organization at page 28 of the report, stating that:

[79]     “The situation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, with regard to the access to public education, health care, and employment was not changed in recent years and Palestinians remain excluded from access to public services in Lebanon.”

[80]     On the basis of this evidence, I find that the treatment of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and restrictions to employment, property rights, and movement, and their denial of access to healthcare and education by the Lebanese State constitutes cumulative discrimination amounting to persecution.

[81]     Given my conclusion, I have not analyzed the allegations of [XXX] being threatened by the Lebanese authorities. However, I did note that I find these allegations to also be credible.

State Protection and Internal Flight Alternative for the Stateless Claimants in Lebanon

[82]     A number of human rights abuses persist within the Palestinian camps in in Lebanon in

general.

[83]     These include arbitrary arrest and detention of Palestinians by state security forces and by autonomous Palestinian security groups.

[84]     Lebanon is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and Palestinian refugees who live in Lebanon are denied citizenship rights in that country.

[85]     Lebanon does not recognize the UN’s 1967 Protocol and does not recognize the basic rights and legal obligations to people with refugee status.

[86]     Information from the Danish Immigration Services sets out the social discrimination against Palestinians in Lebanon and notes that:

[87]     “They are less protected and often linked in the Lebanese media to insecurities, civil war, and radical groups.”

[88]     The former Minister of Lebanon has stated that:

[89]     “Palestinians in Lebanon are in complete misery and a very dire situation.”

[90]     [XXX] testimony and the documentary evidence referenced above make it clear that state protection and relocation within Lebanon are not options for the claimants.

[91]     The U.S. Department of State Report sets out that:

[92]     “Severe discrimination against Palestinians is widespread and systematic throughout all areas of Lebanon, particularly outside of refugee camps.

[93]     Legislation in Lebanon prohibits Palestinian refugees from owning property in the country.”

[94]     For all these reasons, I find on a balance of probabilism that adequate state protection is not available to the claimants and that an internal flight alternative is also not available, as they would not be able to reasonably relocate within Lebanon.

Inability to Return to the U.A.E.

[95]     The claimants maintain in their testimony that they cannot return to the U.A.E., where they had temporary residence.

[96]     [XXX] was ordered to leave the country by the Emirate Security Officials and subsequently had his employment terminated.

[97]     He maintains that neither he, nor his family, can return to the U.A.E. at this point.

[98]     In addition to [XXX] testimony, I have also considered the Response to Information Requests at Tabs 14.1 and 14.2 of the U.A.E. National Documentation Package.

[99]     Tab 14.1 indicates that after a six-month absence, a resident of the U.A.E. cannot re-enter the country without having to obtain a new visa.

[100]   Given [XXX] credible allegations, it is unlikely that [XXX], or his family, could obtain a new visa and re-enter the U.A.E.

[101]   As a result of the above, I find that the stateless claimants cannot return to the U.A.E. as a country of formal habitual residence.

Refugee Claim of [XXX], Citizen of the U.S.

[102]   Under section 96 and subsection 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, a refugee claimant — a refugee claim must be established in regards to the claimant’s country of nationality.

[103]   As mentioned earlier, [XXX] is an American citizen.

[104]   Consequently, I considered the possibility of persecution and the risk of harm that she would face in the U.S.

[105]   When questioned on the risks to [XXX] stated that he had no fears for his daughter in the U.S., other than the fact that she would be separated from her parents.

[106]   Counsel for his part had no argument regarding any potential persecution or risk of harm to [XXX] in the U.S.

[107]   In order to be considered refugees, claimants must face a well-founded fear of persecution based on a Convention ground.

[108]   In my view, the claimants have not established that [XXX] would face persecution for a ground stated under the Convention.

[109]   With neither a link to the Convention, nor a fear of persecution, I conclude that she is not a refugee, as per section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[110]   Furthermore, the claimants have not made any allegations that [XXX] faces a danger of torture in the U.S., as per section 97(1)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, or a risk to her life, as per section 97(1)(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[111]   Regarding cruel and unusual treatment, I do not find that [XXX] could find herself separated from her parents upon return to the U.S., on a balance of probabilities.

[112]   There are provisions under the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that will more likely than not allow [XXX] to remain in Canada with her parents, given their soon to be status of Convention refugees.

[113]   The claimants have therefore not demonstrated that [XXX] would face harm as described under paragraph 97(1)(b) on a balance of probabilities.

Conclusion

[114]   Having considered all the evidence, including your testimony, I find that [XXX] and [XXX] are Convention refugees pursuant to section 96 of the Act and I therefore accept your claims.

[115]   I find that [XXX] has not established that she faces a serious possibility of persecution or, on a balance of probabilities, a risk to her life, or a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment, or danger of torture in the United States. Her claim is therefore denied.

[116]   I want to thank you for your testimony today and I wish you and your children all the best.

[117]   — Upon concluding

Categories
All Countries Cuba

2020 RLLR 121

Citation: 2020 RLLR 121
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: March 18, 2020
Panel:
Counsel for the Claimant(s):
Country: Cuba
RPD Number: MB9-00025
Associated RPD Number(s):
ATIP Number: A-2021-01106
ATIP Pages: 000019-000024

BY THE PANEL:

[1]       Your claim number is MB9-00025. You are claiming to be a citizen of Cuba, and you are making a refugee claim pursuant to Section 96 and sub-Section 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. We call it the IRPA. So, because you are a minor, as we discussed during the hearing, you are 17 almost 18. [XXX] (phonetic), who is not a claimant has acted as your designated representative for these proceedings. So, because of your legal status as still being a minor, I have also considered and applied our Chairperson guideline three, which is on child refugee claimants, procedural and evidentiary issues.

DETERMINATION

[2]       So, my determination. For the reasons that follow, I find that you have established that there is a well-founded fear for yourself in Cuba… or a well-founded fear of persecution, sorry. So, this fear is based on your political opinions, which are against the government in your country of origin. I therefore find that you are a “Convention refugee” pursuant to Section 96 of the IRPA.

ALLEGATIONS

[3]       So, just to talk about your allegations, very briefly. Your detailed allegations are contained in your Basis of Claim form, which we also talked about today. So, you have written about and testified as well about the problems that you had had with your father, who has applied pressure on your to go into [XXX], and follow, sort of, in his footsteps, which you have made clear that you don’t wish to do. That’s not the path that you want to follow in your life. Your father is a member of [XXX]. You provided an identity card for his membership of the [XXX] in Cuba. This problem that you have with your father created further tensions because of your anti­government views in general, your political opinion.

[4]       You also told me about an incident that occurred when you were in school back in Cuba. You say that shortly after the death of Fidel Castro, you were shown a film which was very positive regarding him, and his family, and the government. And, you say you were overheard by your teacher in class discussing this and criticizing the family and the government with your friends. And so, you mentioned that your teacher threatened to send you to the principal’s office, and you spoke quite a bit about your fear of what that could lead to more long term. So, you were afraid that the police could get involved in that sense, and that things could become much more serious for you as a result.

[5]       You also have testified that you have been away from Cuba for quite some time at this point, I believe that’s it’s been about a year and a half, so you fear that this could raise suspicions about you because the government keeps track of the movements of its citizens. And, that people who spend a long time away are often political dissidents, and you fear that this could be something that highlights your presence to them as well. So, you have alleged that you fear being imprisoned or harmed by the State authorities if you were to return to Cuba.

ANALYSIS

IDENTITY

[6]       So, for my analysis, in terms of your identity, I find that your personal and national identity as a citizen of Cuba are established on a balance of probabilities by the documentary evidence on file, in particular a copy of your Cuban passport.

CREDIBILITY

[7]       In terms of your credibility, I found that your testimony was credible today. You testified spontaneously, without hesitation, you answered my questions directly and with lots of detail. There were no significant contradictions, no omissions, no inconsistencies in your testimony, or when compared with your narrative. I found you especially credible when you were talking about your difficult relationship with your father, based on these problems that you have had, your disagreements about your views in general, about the [XXX], about the government and those kinds of things. You testified that your father first started putting pressure on you at the end of your grade nine year in school, which would have been approximately three years ago. And, you spoke about this incident that took place in class. Also, I found you to be credible when you were talking about that. I found also your testimony about your fears of returning to be credible. And, even more convincing for me was your testimony about wanting to become a [XXX] or a [XXX]. So, you clearly stated to me that you could not return to Cuba and be silent about the things that happened there, about the way that your country is run. And, you even said that if you get to stay in Canada, you would like to continue to support those views about Cuba from afar.

[8]       So, when we have claimants come in and talk about feeling persecuted because of their political opinion, sometimes… or often times they have a lot of incidents to speak of. You are 17-years-old. You’ve been here for a year and a half. So, you were quite young when you left your country. I’ve taken that into consideration given that there weren’t a lot of incidents. But I still found that you had a lot to talk about. You had a lot to say about your political opinions. And again, the most important part for me is that you made it clear that you could not return to Cuba and keep silent, which would make you a target for the authorities. In terms of your evidence, you’ve submitted your father’s I.D. car as well as some photos of him in [XXX]. So, to conclude this part of the decision, I found that you are a credible witness. I believe the allegations that you’ve made in support of your claim today. So, based on your credible testimony and the documents that you’ve submitted, I accept what you have alleged to day and in your narrative. I believe that you have established on a balance of probabilities that you would be a target; you would be at risk of being targeted for your political opinions in Cuba.

OBJECTIVE BASIS

[9]       So, I took a look at objective evidence as well, and we have a package of information for each of the countries that we received claimants from. For the Cuban package, I find that the evidence is clear about how political opponents are treated in Cuba, and even perceived political opponents, how they are treated by the authorities. So, I’ll just talk about that a little bit. Item 2.1 of the report is the United States Department of State report, it talks about Cuba being an authoritarian State. It’s a one-party system, and the constitution recognizes the Communist party as the only legal party, and the highest political entity of the State. This government participates in unlawful and arbitrary killings, intimidation and physical assault of human rights and pro-democracy activists, political dissidents, other detainees and prisoners. And, they do this with impunity. So, they don’t receive any kind of… they don’t have to account for their actions essentially. The police use laws against public disorder, contempt, lack of respect, aggression, failure to pay minimal or arbitrary fines as ways to detain, threatened and arrest civil society activists. So, they have… they have a lot of things that they can use against… against people who are advocating against the government, basically.

[10]     There’s an Amnesty International report at section 4.3 of the NDP, that talks about President Obama’s visit in the year 2016. And, they refer to dozens of activists and independent journalists being detained including some members of Women in White, the organization that you spoke about, the wives and family members of people who are held in prison in Cuba. Human rights… A human rights organization that is not recognized by the government also reported 762 politically motivated and arbitrary detentions per month between 2014 and 2016. And, finally, the same report states that the Committee to Protect Journalists ranks Cuba tenth on the 2015 list of the world’s most censored countries, and it also classified Cuba’s laws on free speech and press freedom as the most restrictive in the Americas. So, that’s the objective evidence that I have. And, I find on a balance of probabilities there is an objective basis for your claim.

STATE PROTECTION

[11]     So, we have to look at State protection. But I find that you’re quite clear that the agent of persecution and who you fear is the State itself. So, we could not expect you to have access to adequate State protection in Cuba, because you have an anti-government viewpoint, and the objective basis… the objective evidence shows that the government targets individuals who oppose them. So, based on this evidence, I find that on a balance of probabilities adequate State protection would not be available to you if you were to return to Cuba.

INTERNAL FLIGHT ALTERNATIVE

[12]     And, finally, in deciding refugee claims, we have to look at whether or not you have what’s called an internal flight alternative. So, that means we have to look and see if there is another place in your country where you could be safe. I didn’t even ask you any questions about that today because again I think you’ve been very clear that you fear the State. The State controls the entire country. So, I find that it’s clear that on a balance of probabilities that there would be no safe place for you in Cuba. So, there is no safe internal flight alternative.

CONCLUSION

[13]     So, finally, based on the totality of all of this evidence, I conclude that you would face a serious possibility of persecution on the basis of your political opinion in Cuba. Therefore, I find you to be a “Convention refugee”. I am accepting your refugee claim under Section 96 of the IRPA.

Categories
All Countries Nigeria

2020 RLLR 120

Citation: 2020 RLLR 120
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: February 14, 2020
Panel: Harsimran Kaur
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Clémence Marie Camille Chevalier
Country: Nigeria
RPD Number: MB8-04564
Associated RPD Number(s): MB8-04594, MB8-04612
ATIP Number: A-2021-01106
ATIP Pages: 000007-000018

REASONS FOR DECISION

INTRODUCTION

[1]       This is the decision of the Refugee Protection Division (the Panel) in the claims for refugee protection of [XXX] (the principal claimant), his wife [XXX] (the associated claimant), and their minor daughter [XXX] (the minor female claimant), citizens of Nigeria. They claim refugee protection in Canada pursuant to section 96 and subsection 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (the Act).[1]

[2]       Prior to the start of the hearing, the Panel appointed the principal claimant as the designated representative for the minor female claimant.

[3]       In reaching its decision, the Panel took into consideration the Chairperson’s Guidelines No. 4 on Women Refugee Claimants Fearing Gender Related Persecution.[2]

ALLEGATIONS

[4]       The claimants’ detailed allegations are contained in the principal claimant’s Basis of Claim form (BOC)[3] and in the revised narrative, dated [XXX] 2020.The associated and the minor female claimant has adopted the allegations of the principal claimant.

[5]       The principal claimant fears being initiated into a cult because of a promise made by his father, to the cult members, whereby the father had nominated the principal claimant as his successor in the cult.

[6]       The principal claimant was unaware of his father’s cult membership and the promise. During his father’s burial ceremony, on the [XXX] 2010, while the principal claimant and his family were waiting for the Imam to perform the prayer, three cult members, dressed in traditional cult attire, suddenly arrived in his house and demanded to perform the burial as per their own traditions and left after singing some religious incantations and this was the first time that the principal claimant learnt of his father’ s cult association.

[7]       On the principal claimant’s wedding night, on [XXX] 2014, five cult members came to the house of the principal claimant and gave him a parcel which revealed that he has been promised by the father to the cult and that he should prepare himself for the initiation otherwise dire consequences await him.

[8]       The same cult members came back again on the naming ceremony of the minor female claimant on [XXX] 2015 and reminded the principal claimant that they hope his next child is a male child so that they could offer the male child as a sacrifice and initiate the principal claimant into the cult.

[9]       The principal claimant unequivocally told them about his disinterest in becoming a cult member and shortly thereafter, he started receiving threatening calls, which continued despite the claimants’ relocation from Ibadan to Oshogbo in Osun State.

[10] Besides the cult members, the claimant’s also fear [XXX], the current wealthy and influential family head with strong business ties, who has been strongly forcing and pressuring the claimants to perform Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) on the minor female claimant as per the traditional beliefs to uphold the family dignity and honour.

[11]     [XXX] made two unsuccessful kidnapping attempts on the minor female claimant, the first being on [XXX] 2017 and the second on [XXX] 2017.

[12]     The principal and the associated claimant further allege that they are both being personally targeted by [XXX] and his henchmen because of their non-compliance with the practice of FGM.

[13]     Fearing for their lives, the claimants left Nigeria on [XXX] 2017, were in the United States (US) until [XXX} 2018 and claimed asylum upon arrival in Canada.

DETERMINATION

[14]     The Panel has considered all of the evidence and finds that the claimants have established that they face a serious possibility of persecution under section 96 of the IRPA, for the minor female claimant on the basis of her membership in a particular social group, namely girls fearing female genital mutilation (FGM) and for the principal and the associated claimant on the basis of their membership in a particular social group – family, particularly, Nigerian parents refusing to subject their daughter to FGM. Accordingly, the Panel concludes that they are all “Convention refugees” pursuant to section 96 of the Act.

ANALYSIS

Identity

[15]     The claimants’ personal and national identities as citizens of Nigeria are established, on a balance of probabilities, by their testimony and by the documentary evidence on file, including copies of their Nigerian passports.[4]

Nexus

[16]     With respect to the female minor claimant, the Panel finds that there is a link: between her fear and one of the five Convention grounds, as a member of a particular social group of women or girls fearing FGM in Nigeria. For the principal and the associated claimant, as the parents of the minor female claimant, there is a link with their membership in a particular social group, family. Accordingly, their claims have been assessed under Section 96 of the Act.

Credibility and subjective fear

[17]     Testimony provided under oath is presumed to be truthful, unless there are reasons to doubt its truthfulness.[5] In the present case, the Panel has no such reason. The Panel finds the claimants to be credible witnesses and believes, on balance of probabilities, the key allegations of their claim. Their testimony was spontaneous, straightforward, direct and internally coherent with the documentary evidence on file and there were no significant contradictions, inconsistencies or omissions between the written and oral testimony. They were both spontaneous in their answers and the Panel did not find that they tried to embellish or exaggerate their narratives.

FGM of Minor Female Claimant

[18]     The claimants testified in detail about the pressure and threats they received from the family head [XXX], to have their daughter subjected to FGM, as well as the importance of FGM to the family of principal claimant. The principal claimant credibly alleges that he comes from a family that adheres to traditional beliefs regarding performing FGM on every girl child of the family from the age two (2) and older.

[19]     The principal claimant provided a comprehensive testimony of the events as they unfolded starting from [XXX] 2016 until the claimants’ departure from Nigeria. He testified that he was invited by [XXX] for a family meeting on [XXX] 2016, and it was during this meeting, the family members offered to the principal claimant the choice of choosing a date for performing FGM on the minor female claimant and when he refused to pick a date for the circumcision, [XXX] called the principal claimant towards the end of [XXX] 2016 and told the principal claimant that [XXX] 2017, is the date fixed for the circumcision of the minor female claimant.

[20]     The principal claimant further testified that when he did not take the minor female claimant for circumcision on the fixed date, the family members namely [XXX] and [XXX], at the behest [XXX], attempted to kidnap the minor female claimant from her house on [XXX] 2017. The associated claimant credibly testified how she was slapped on her ear by [XXX] while she was trying to rescue the minor female claimant from the kidnapper and that the whole situation was defused when their neighbor, [XXX], interjected to save the minor female claimant.

[21]     The claimants’ testimony is further corroborated by the affidavit of [XXX][6], their neighbor and the Panel accords full probative value to the said document.

[22]     The principal claimant went on to explain that out of fear they decided to relocate to Oshogbo, Osun State but on [XXX] 2017, [XXX], posing to pick the minor female claimant from her school, went to the school in an attempt to kidnap her and the situation was brought under control only when the proprietor of [XXX] School called the principal claimant, seeking his permission to allow the female minor claimant to go with [XXX]. The principal claimant further described how [XXX] was chased away by the school authorities after the principal claimant refused to give his consent allowing [XXX] to pick minor female claimant from the school. The associated claimant testified that she too got a call from the para educator of the minor female claimant, asking if the associated claimant is aware that the minor female claimant will be picked by [XXX]. The claimant’s oral testimony is keeping in line with their written testimony and is further corroborated by the letter from the proprietor of [XXX] School[7]. The Panel accords full weight to this document.

[23]     The principal claimant further testified that on [XXX] 2017, [XXX] called him and unambiguously told him that either they should bring the minor female claimant to the family or the family will eliminate them in order to perform the circumcision of the minor female claimant, thereby protecting and upholding the tradition of the family. From that time forward, the claimants realized that they would not be safe in Nigeria and they ramped up their efforts to leave the country. The principal claimant’s testimony is corroborated by the affidavit of his mother-in-law[8] and his aunt[9].

[24]     Thus, in light of the two failed kidnapping attempts of minor female claimant by [XXX] and the threatening phone call on [XXX] 2017, the Panel concludes that, on balance of probabilities, [XXX] is interested in performing FGM on the minor female claimant.

Objective basis

[25]     The principal claimant’s allegations are consistent with the objective documentary evidence on FGM in Nigeria. The documentary evidence indicates that the practice of FGM ‘continues to thrive’ and is widespread in Nigeria, such that several thousand girls and women are subjected to it, despite the passing into law of the Violence against Person’s (Prohibition) Act (VAPP)[10].

[26]     The documentary evidence states that decision to subject a girl to FGM in Nigeria is up to the girl’s parents.[11] Though the tradition varies from one ethnic tribe to another, but the evidence indicates that the involvement of family members is a common feature.

[27]     According to the said documentary evidence[12], parents are free to oppose the rituals but then it goes on to explain that refusals come with consequences such as ostracism, stigmatization, blackmailing, denial of intracultural benefits and physical abuse.

[28]     The principal claimant testified that [XXX] and other members of his family believe that if a girl is not circumcised, she will grow up to be a prostitute and will bring defame to the family and that if anything untoward happens in the family, for instance, if there is a death in the family or somebody has an accident, or someone loses a job, has a broken marriage or if somebody’s child failed an exam, the claimants will be blamed for the unfortunate events which will give [XXX] and the family an impetus to hunt down the claimants.

[29]     Thus, the Panel concludes, on balance of probabilities, that [XXX] and other family members are capable of forcing FGM on minor female claimant despite the opposition of the principal and associated claimant.

STATE PROTECTION

[30]     For the reasons below, the Panel finds that the claimants have rebutted the presumption of state protection with clear and convincing evidence that the state of Nigeria would be unable or unwilling to provide the claimants with adequate state protection.

[31]     The principal claimant was asked if he had made a police complaint about the two failed kidnapping attempts of the minor female claimant by [XXX]. He testified that making a police complaint would have yielded no results as [XXX] is a wealthy businessman, is politically well-connected and would have used the clout to get away with the complaint. The principal claimant went on to explain that considering it’s a family matter, police would have been reluctant to intervene had he complained.

[32]     The Panel finds the principal claimant’s explanation reasonable. Moreover, the objective evidence also indicates that the police response to traditional or customary matters is typically non-­interventionist. The research provides that “in practice, people cannot necessarily rely on the police” and it is the custodians of cultural or traditional rites that ultimately determine the fate of the individual”.[13]

[33]     The Violence against persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015, is the federal law attempting to prohibit FGM across the whole county. The VAPP Act aims at eliminating gender-based violence in private and public life by criminalizing and setting out the punishment for acts including rape (but not spousal rape), incest, domestic violence, stalking, harmful traditional practices, and FGM. However, the VAPP Act is only in effect in the Federal Capital Territory, and as such, the remaining states must pass legislation to implement it across the country.[14] The documentary evidence further states that state governments have, to date, been slow to respond to the introduction of the VAPP Act. As of June 2018, only 13 states had adopted anti-FGM legislation.[15]

[34]     Despite the legislation, however, the documentary evidence indicates that the practice of FGM continues to thrive in Nigeria.[16] There have been no prosecutions of perpetrators of FGM in Nigeria since the passing of the legislation.[17] The documentary evidence also provides that it is extremely difficult for women and girls to obtain protection with respect to FGM, and that there is widespread community support for these practices and the traditional attitude of police help to support them.[18] Accordingly, the Panel finds that despite there being laws prohibiting FGM in Lagos and Abuja and in certain other states, these laws are not being enforced such that the claimants could reasonably expect adequate state protection from FGM in Nigeria.

[35]     Given the evidence, the Panel finds, on a balance of probabilities, that adequate protection would not be provided to the minor female claimant or to the claimants for objecting to the practice, in Nigeria.

Internal Flight Alternative (IFA)

[36]     At the hearing, the Panel identified Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Lagos as potential IFA locations (together, the “IFA locations”). However, the Panel finds that the claimants face a serious possibility of persecution throughout Nigeria. The Panel has considered the Jurisprudential Guide in the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) decision TB7-19851 but after careful consideration, the Panel does not view the circumstances of this case as an appropriate one to apply Jurisprudential guide given the far reach and influence of [XXX].

Means available for [XXX] to find claimants in Port Harcourt, Abuja and Lagos

[37]     The principal claimant testified that [XXX] has an [XXX] business which is operated from Port Harcourt, has a wife, kids and a half-brother in Port Harcourt and that the claimants can run into them in a mall, hospital, park or any other public place and there could also be a possibility of [XXX] kids and minor female claimant attending the same school. Because of all this, it will be very easy for [XXX] to find the claimants in Port Harcourt. The principal claimant further credibly alleged that [XXX] can also use power and connections to track down the claimants in Port Harcourt.

[38]     Furthermore, the principal claimant testified that he has many family members in Abuja, with whom he can have a coincidental encounter at a bank, shopping mall or a gas station and then they can always let pass [XXX] know that claimants are in Abuja who can then kill or harm them or kidnap the minor female claimant.

[39]     The principal claimant also explained that since Lagos is close to Ibadan and he has brothers and sisters living there, it will be easy for [XXX] to track him down there. He provided the example of how after the shop of one of his brother’s got burnt, the claimants were blamed for the torching of the shop because of their refusal to comply with traditional practice of performing FGM on the minor female claimant. He went on to explain further that incidents like these can be an impetus for the extended family to disclose the claimant’s location in Lagos to [XXX] if the claimants relocate to Lagos.

[40]     Moreover, after their relocation to Oshogbo in [XXX] 2017, [XXX] was not only able to find the claimants but also attempted to kidnap the minor female claimant on [XXX] 2017.

[41]     Hence, the Panel concludes that, on balance of probabilities, [XXX] has the means to find the claimants in Port Harcourt, Abuja and Lagos.

Motivation to find the claimants

[42]     The principal claimant explained that [XXX], despite considering himself to be a guardian of traditional and family practises, has a vested interest in performing FGM of the minor female claimant since [XXX] wants to be a king and the kingmakers might use against [XXX] the fact that a girl from his own family has not been circumcised and that if he cannot make his own family adhere to their traditional beliefs and customs, [XXX] cannot be a good king.

[43]     The principal claimant’s testimony is further buttressed by the affidavit from [XXX][19], mother-in-law of the principal claimant and the affidavit of [XXX][20], aunt of the principal claimant. Both these affidavits mention the constant threats hurled at them by [XXX] because of their alleged complicity with the claimants, vis-à-vis their refusal to subject the minor female claimant to FGM.

[44]     Hence, the Panel concludes that, on balance of probabilities, [XXX] has the means and motivation to find the claimants in Port Harcourt, Abuja and Lagos.

[45]     Thus, the Panel concludes that because the agent of persecution has the means and the motivation to find the claimants anywhere in Nigeria, there is no viable IFA in Nigeria for them. Furthermore, the Panel notes the absence of state protection for traditional practices and FGM throughout Nigeria.

[46]     Accordingly, the Panel finds that the possibility of an IFA fails on the first prong.

CONCLUSION

[47]     Having considered and assessed the evidence in totality, the Panel concludes that the minor female claimant has established a serious possibility of persecution in Nigeria based on her membership in particular social group, Nigerian female fearing FGM.

[48]     The Panel also concludes that the principal and the associated claimant have established a serious possibility of persecution in Nigeria based on their membership in particular social group, namely family; in particular, Nigerian parents refusing to subject their daughter to FGM.

[49]     The Panel finds that the claimants are Convention refugees within the meaning of Section 96 of the Act.

[50]     The Panel, therefore, accepts their claims.

[51]     Since the Panel has found the claimants to be Convention Refugees within the meaning of Section 96 of the Act, the Panel does not deem it necessary to make an analysis of the fear of the principal claimant stemming from his refusal to be initiated in a traditional Yoruban cult, under section 96 and subsection 97(1) (b) of the Act.


[1] Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c, 27, as amended.

[2] Chairperson Guidelines 4: Women Refugee Claimants Fearing Gender-Related Persecution. Effective date: November 13, 1996. Guidelines issued by the Chairperson pursuant to Section 65(3) of the Immigration Act.

[3] Document 1 — Basis of Claim forms (BOC).

[4] Document 3 — Idem.

[5] Moldonado v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration), [1980] 2 F.C. 302 (C.A.).

[6] Document 4 — Exhibit P 10: Affidavit of [XXX].

[7] Document 4 — Exhibit P-6: Letter from [XXX] School.

[8] Document 4 — Exhibit P-7: Affidavit of [XXX].

[9] Document 4 — Exhibit P-8: Affidavit of [XXX].

[10] Document 3 — National Documentation Package (NDP), Nigeria, 29 November 2019, tab 5.21: Response Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. 25 January 2016. NGA105404.E.

[11] Document 3 – NDP, Nigeria, 29 November 2019, tab 5.12: Response to an information request. Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. 29 October 2018. NGA106183.FE.

[12] Idem.

[13] Document 3 — NDP, Nigeria, 29 November 2019, tab 10.8: Response to an information equest. Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. 14 November 2016. NGA105659.E.

[14] Idem.

[15] Document 3 — NDP, Nigeria, 29 November 2019, tab 5.22: Country Profile: FGM in Nigeria. 28 Too Many. October 2016.

[16] Supra, note 11.

[17] Supra, note 13.

[18] Idem.

[19] Document 4 — Exhibit P7: Affidavit from [XXX].

[20] Document 4 — Exhibit P8- Affidavit from [XXX].


Categories
All Countries Mexico

2020 RLLR 119

Citation: 2020 RLLR 119
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: July 7, 2020
Panel: Camille Theberge Ménard
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Mabel E. Fraser
Country: Mexico
RPD Number: MB7-12502
Associated RPD Number(s): MB7-12711, MB7-12712, MB7-12789
ATIP Number: A-2021-01106
ATIP Pages: 000001-000006

REASONS FOR DECISION

INTRODUCTION

[1]       These are the reasons for decision in the refugee protection claims filed by [XXX] and [XXX], who are alleging that they are citizens of Mexico and who are claiming refugee protection under section 96 and subsection 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).

[2]       [XXX], you were appointed as the designated representative for the minor children.

ALLEGATIONS

[3]       You fear senior leadership of the [XXX] department of the State of Tabasco, Mexico.

[4]       [XXX], you stated that after you were hired, you reported many anomalies and indicators pointing to corruption to your supervisor, whom you trusted. However, she was ultimately cooperating with the individuals you had reported. You stated that you received many veiled threats.

[5]       An altercation then took place on [XXX] 2017, in which your wife was followed in a vehicle and stopped by an armed man who appeared to be a soldier. She stated that he was surprised to see her with a child; she attributed his surprise to the fact that you are the one who usually drives the truck she was using that day.

[6]       You then stated that some men entered the shop run by you and your wife. They asked for you and demanded that you pay them so they could ensure your safety.

[7]       You then lost your job without any justification and you received death threats in connection with your shop, which prompted you to seek refuge in Quintana Roo.

[8]       After arriving there, you received text messages on your cellphone containing death threats. You tried to settle there. However, after a job interview, a company higher-up from Mexico City mentioned you could not be hired due to problems you had had with influential individuals. You again feared even more for your life and your family’s lives and decided to leave the country.

[9]       You believe that you have neither a viable internal flight alternative (IFA) nor access to state protection.

DETERMINATION

[10] I determine that, on a balance of probabilities, you would be personally subjected to a risk to your life or to a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment if you were to return to Mexico, for the reasons that follow.

ANALYSIS

Identity

[11]     I find that your identities have been established by means of your testimony and the copies of your passports filed on the record.[1]

Credibility

[12]     I find that you are credible witnesses; therefore, I believe your main allegations in support of your refugee protection claims.

[13]     Your testimony was sincere and did not contain any relevant inconsistencies. There were no relevant contradictions between your testimony and the other evidence before me that were not satisfactorily explained.

[14]     You indicate in the first version of your written account that the senior leadership, whom you fear, sent you polite messages but you specified during the hearing that they were veiled threats. You explain the content of the messages, with details, in an amended written account filed after you changed lawyers. Given the circumstances in your file, I find that the details you brought forward during the hearing and in the amendment to your written account explain this difference between your testimony during the first hearing and your first written account.

[15]     You also failed to discuss the threatening text messages you received on your cellphone after you arrived in Quintana Roo. You first explained that you had focused on the elements you were able to demonstrate and that there had been a lack of communication between you and your first lawyer. Given the very specific circumstances of your case, the reasons why you were forced to find a new lawyer and the fact that you provided numerous documents to support your allegations as a whole, I find that this omission is reasonably justified.

[16]     As for the documents you filed to support your claims, you filed a note indicating that you had indeed been hired by the [XXX] department. You also filed examples of official letters that you had sent to your supervisor to report the irregularities and acts of corruption that you kept track of at work.[2]

[17]     You also submitted photographs[3] of the shop you ran, as you stated, while you also worked at the [XXX] department. You also provided photographs of the shop’s closing[4] and the threats you stated you received, written across it. Finally, you also filed photographs of the truck[5] in which the female claimant was threatened.

[18]     The panel has no specific reason to doubt the credibility of these documents and finds that they are probative in supporting your allegations of fear.

[19]     In order to establish that you are a “person in need of protection,” you must demonstrate that there is a serious possibility that you would be subjected, on a balance of probabilities, to a risk to your life, to a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment or to a danger of torture if you were returned to Mexico.

[20]     I find that the evidence submitted in support of your allegation establishes that there are, on a balance of probabilities, serious reasons to believe that you would be subjected to persecution or the other alleged harm.

[21]     You received many threats from influential [XXX] department personnel whom you had tried to report. Meanwhile, you were getting visits from criminal group members who were extorting money from you. During the hearing, you indicated that the people visiting your shop addressed you by the title you had at the [XXX] department. You also alleged that these individuals were paid by the influential personnel of the department and you consider that this demonstrates that the area’s criminal groups are connected to the department.

[22]     Not only did those people threaten you and your family, but they also followed your wife while she was driving your truck, which suggests the threats were becoming increasingly serious.

[23]     Furthermore, the objective evidence in the National Documentation Package (NDP) on Mexico confirms that corrupt federal officials and their ties to various criminal groups are a significant and ongoing reality in Mexico.[6]

[24]     The city of Tabasco, where you lived, is in the lowest tier of safe cities, which means it is one of the cities in Mexico with one of the highest crime rates and impunity rates for both crime and human rights abuses.[7]

[25]     I find that it would be objectively unreasonable for you to seek state protection considering the particular facts of your refugee protection claim. In addition to the previously cited documentary evidence confirming the high impunity rate, the individuals who threatened you and whom you fear hold important public administration positions and they therefore have significant influence and resources that enable them to be informed of your undertakings if you were to try to file a complaint against them.

Internal flight alternative

[26]     I also assessed whether you have an IFA available to you. I find that there is nowhere in the country where you would not face, on a balance of probabilities, a risk to your lives or a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

[27]     When you sought refuge in Quintana Roo with your family, you continued to receive threatening messages on your cellphone. The content of these messages indicated that the individuals who were looking for you were aware that you had left the area for the location where you were hiding. After that, you tried to find a job in that region and you were told that you must have been having problems with important individuals, because the head office of the company you were applying to had decided not to hire you. This situation demonstrates that your name had been given to an organization, with significant reach beyond the city of Tabasco and influence in Mexico City. That was when you learned that you would not be safe anywhere in Mexico. The panel agrees.

CONCLUSION

[28]     For the above-mentioned reasons and after analyzing all of the evidence, I determine that you are “persons in need of protection” within the meaning of paragraph 97(1)(a) or 97(1)(b) of the IRPA.

[29]     I therefore allow your refugee protection claims.


[1] Document 1 — Information package provided by the Canada Border Services Agency and/or Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada: passports.

[2] Document 6 — Exhibits P-6 to P-9.

[3] Document 6 — Exhibit P-11.

[4] Document 6 — Exhibit P-12.

[5] Document 6 — Exhibit P-14.

[6] Document 3 — National Documentation Package (NDP), Mexico, August 30, 2019, Tab 2.1: Mexico. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018, United States, Department of State, March 13, 2019; Document 3 — NDP, Mexico, August 30, 2019, Tab 1.5: Mexico Peace Index 2019, Institute for Economics and Peace, April 2019, page 74/98.

[7] Idem, Tab 1.5.