Categories
All Countries Libya

2019 RLLR 87

Citation: 2019 RLLR 87
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: January 10, 2019
Panel: K. Pike
Counsel for the claimant(s): Claire Houkaye m
Country: Libya
RPD Number: TB7-18122
Associated RPD Numbers: TB7-18133, TB7-18157, TB7-18158, TB7-18159
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000037-000039


DECISION

[1]       MEMBER: This is the decision in the claims for refugee protection made by [XXX] and [XXX]. The principal File Number is TB7-18122.

[2]       Having carefully considered the evidence in this case, I am in a position to render a decision orally now and that decision is to accept the claim. The reason I come to that conclusion is as follows.

[3]       First of all, your identities are well established. I have copies of everyone’s passports and numerous other identity documents.

[4]       You have sought protection the following reason: When you returned to Libya in 2015 after having finished a period of studies in Canada, you allege that your home in Tripoli was damaged during armed conflict in the city at that time. You were not living there at that time, you were living in your parents’ home another city, Zaltan.

[5]       You went to go check on the damage. You made a report to the persons of responsible for the local security in the area in hopes of one day getting for some compensation for the damage. People came to inspect the home and the damage, and you say that an unintended consequence of this was that they found materials that they perceived to be of pro-Gaddafi in your home. Despite your explanation that these were related to your academic work, you were detained and questioned, treated badly in detention.

[6]       And you remain afraid of returning to Libya as you believe the security forces and militia groups perceive you as aligned with the former regime. You say this belief is supported by the continuing action of the local militia in your neighborhood in Tripoli, and that they chose to take your home you said for their own purposes in 2017.

[7]       You were able to secure visas to return to Canada to study and subsequently claim protection here. So, the reason I accept the claim is because I do find there is sufficient credible evidence to support your allegation.

[8]       Your testimony today was consistent and detailed. You provided documents in support of your claim, which included photos of your home and the damage to your home, letters from family members and neighbors who support your claims, and a record from the local militia group obtained by a family member, and so for all of those reasons I do believe that your home was damaged and you are now a target of the local militia group in Tripoli and that should you return to Libya and try to live in your home in Tripoli, you would face more than a mere possibility of persecution as a result of your perceived political opinion as being seen as pro-Gaddafi and by default against the militia.

[9]       Having found that you face persecution in your home, I had do consider whether there was an internal flight alternative for you. We considered Zaltan as this where your family is from and where you went to after you were released in Tripoli. You claim that you would be at risk there because the militia groups are widespread. You did remain there for a number of months before leaving Libya. There is no information that that militia group has control or reach in that city, and your family continues to live there. So, it is somewhat questionable whether the evidence supports that you would face risk there.

[10]     However, in addition to your fear of return, you also described the situation in general in the city as very poor. The security situation has resulted in your family member and others being unable to leave their homes and living in a situation of fear based on the lack of security in the area.

[11]     You are a family with four young children, and so even if the specific militia group that you fear in Tripoli would not necessarily harm you there, I find it objectively unreasonable for you to relocate to a city where there is such a poor security situation such that people were unable to leave their homes.

[12]     Finally, I note that there is no State protection currently in Libya as there is no functioning central State.

[13]     And so, for all of those reasons, I do find that you are Convention refugees and the claims are accepted. Thank you.

[14]     COUNSEL: Thank you, Board member.

———- REASONS CONCLUDED ———-

Categories
All Countries Democratic Republic of Congo

2019 RLLR 75

Citation: 2019 RLLR 75
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: February 7, 2019
Panel: Melanie Chartier
Country: Democratic Republic of Congo
RPD Number: VB8-00176
ATIP Number: A-2020-01274
ATIP Pages: 000227-000232


— DECISION AND REASONS BY THE MEMBER

[1]       PRESIDING MEMBER: This is the decision of the Refugee Protection Division in the claims of Mr. [XXX] and his wife [XXX]. The file number is VB8-00176 and today’s date is [XXX], 2019.

[2]       You claim to be citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo and you are both claiming refugee protection pursuant to section 96 and paragraph 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[3]       I find that you are both Convention refugees because of your imputed political opinion. Here are my reasons.

[4]       Your detailed allegations can be found in your respective Basis of Claim forms. Here’s a summary.

[5]       Your problems started in 2002 when one of your sons, who is now living in Canada, was accused of being part of the rebellion of the north. He was arrested and detained many times. You finally were able to help him leave the country and seek refugee protection in Canada.

[6]       That year you had agents going to your house, searching your house and filling your property on a regular basis. Mr. [XXX], you were brought for questioning by the authorities and each time you had to bribe them in order to be released. Mr. [XXX], in 2005 you were accused of being a member of the Bundi dia Kongo movement and you were arrested and detained by the government authorities on many occasions. You were also the victim of intimidation by agents of the military intelligence service of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

[7]       You continued being harassed until 2010 but things were not as bad as in 2005. After the presidential elections of 2011 you felt that things had improved. The police no longer came to your house and there was no harassment.

[8]       You visited your children in Canada in the [XXX] of 2011 and returned to the Democratic Republic of Congo in [XXX] 2011. At the airport in Kinshasa you were set aside and questioned about your visit in Canada. All of the gifts and new clothes you were bringing back were seized by the authorities.

[9]       In [XXX] 2012 a government agent visited you at your house and questioned you about the purpose of your recent trip to Canada.  You were asked to once again present yourself to the military intelligence office the next day, which you did. You were questioned once again and released at the end of the day. You were once again questioned by the same man in [XXX] 2012.

[10]     You arrived in Canada on [XXX], 2012, with a super visa.  At that time, despite the past issues you had with the Congolese authorities you were not planning to claim refugee protection. From 2012 until 2017 you considered claiming refugee protection but you were hoping things would get better in your country.

[11]     On [XXX], 2017 you were informed by Mr. [XXX]’ s sister that a summons was left at your house in Kinshasa.  Another summons was served three days later. In addition, you found out that a national search warrant was issued on July 10, 2017 for Mr. [XXX].

[12]     Even though you love your country where you still have properties and friends, you both finally decided you claim refugee protection the end of 2017.

[13]     I find that your identity as nationals of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been established by your testimony and the documentation filed including your passports at Exhibit 1.

[14]     Both of you testified at the hearing. I find that you were both credible and I therefore believe what you have alleged in support of your claims. You both testified in a direct, straightforward and spontaneous manner and there were no material contradictions or inconsistencies between your testimony and the rest of the evidence before.

[15]     You also did not embellish your evidence even when you had the chance to do so.  For example, when I asked you if you had received another summons since [XXX] of 2017, you testified that you had not. Or, when I asked you if you were involved in any political parties you testified that you had not. Again, I asked you what your political opinion was and you simply stated that you were for the alternates of the president.

[16]     In addition, you provided documents that corroborate your allegations, including a copy of the avis de recherche and the summons, both in Exhibit 3, which state that Mr. [XXX] is wanted for national security reasons.

[17]     Your son, [XXX], also testified at the hearing about why he had to flee the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002 and claim refugee protection in Canada. I too find him credible. He testified in a direct and straightforward manner and corroborated your evidence. He explained in detail the reason by he had to leave the country and why, even with the election of a new president, he is still afraid of going back to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

[18]     I find that you have both established that you have a well-founded fear of persecution because of your imputed political opinion.

[19]     I find that you have both established, on a balance of probabilities, that you are seen by the authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo as political opponents because of your son who was accused of being a rebel in 2002 and because the authorities believe that you were or you are a member of the Bundi dia Kongo movement a religious and opposition political party.

[20]     You testified that throughout the years you have been harassed, arrested and interrogated multiple times by the authorities. While things got a bit better after 2010, you testified that you were again arrested and interrogated upon your return from Canada in [XXX] of 2011 at the airport as well as in early [XXX] 2012 and [XXX] of 2012.

[21]     I find that you have established a subjective fear despite having returned to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2011 and despite the delay in claiming while in Canada.

[22]     First, I note that you had valid legal status in Canada during your entire stay. In addition, you testified that even though you considered claiming refugee protection back in 2011 and 2012 and in the following years, you were hoping to eventually be able to return to Democratic Republic of Congo.

[23]     Most importantly, you testified that you finally decided to claim refugee protection after receiving the summons and the search warrant in [XXX] of 2017. At that point, you were really afraid that your life was in danger.

[24]     I accept your explanations that I find reasonable.

[25]     The country documentation on the Democratic Republic of Congo provides the objective basis for your claims. It clearly indicates that people opposing the regime in power or seen as opposing the regime have been arbitrarily arrested, detained, kidnapped, tortured or even killed. There’s ample evidence that anyone opposing or seen as opposing the regime is a target.

[26]     For example, I’d like to refer to item 2.1 of the National Documentation Package and I read from page 10:

“Throughout the year security forces regularly held protestors and civil society activists incommunicado and without charge for extended periods. For example, on June 15, state  agents arrested opposition Union For Democracy and Social Progress Youth League president David Mukeba in Kisangani for raising concerns about the country’s voter registration. The ANR allegedly held Mukeba incommunicado until August 31, when he was released.

On July 31, the SSF arbitrarily arrested at least 131 civil society activists and civilians following nationwide protests. While most were released within two days, five individuals who attempted to deliver a letter to the local CENI office in Lubumbashi were prosecuted. In August a court convicted four of the activists for disturbing the peace and sentenced them to eight months in prison. In November a court convicted the fifth activist, Timothee Mbuya, of provocation and incitation of disobedience and sentenced him to 12 months in prison.”

[27]     As another example, I’d like to refer to item 2.2 of the National Documentation Package and I read from page 2:

“Authorities continued to ban and repress public dissent and peaceful assemblies organized by civil society organizations and the opposition, especially protests concerning the political crisis and elections. Opposition peaceful protesters were intimidated, harassed and arrested by security forces; government supporters demonstrations took place without interference from the authorities.”

[28]     With respect to the treatment of the Bundi dia Kongo followers, I’d like to refer you to item 4.7 of the National Documentation Package

“ADIAC indicates that BDK followers are on the radar of the Congolese authorities and that they are being sought by the security services, forcing some to live in hiding.   Similarly, the Congolese daily Le Potentiel reports that BDK/BDM followers are mistreated by security services, including arbitrary arrest and torture. The same source states that this is the situation in Kinshasa and in the Congo Central province.”

[29]     I also find that your risk of persecution would be increased if you were to return to Congo as failed asylum seekers, especially given that you have made a claim against the authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo and I’d like to refer to item 14.3 of the National Documentation Package which states that there is reports to instruct security chiefs to track down and arrest opponents of the government including members of the main opposition party and that they could use torture with discretion upon their return to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

[30]     Finally, I know that even though a new president was elected recently, I have no evidence before me that things have changed for the better in Democratic Republic of Congo. To the contrary, it appears that the election results are now being contested.

[31]     According to the articles found in Exhibit 5 many suspect that Kabila made a deal with the new president Tshisekide. In addition, according to your testimony, many of the people who worked under Kabila remain in place and the article in Exhibit 5 confirms this, stating for example, at page 5 that most of the security establishment remain loyal to Kabila.

[32]     Therefore, should you return to Democratic Republic of Congo I find that there is a serious possibility that you would be persecuted because of your imputed political opinion.

[33]     I find that you have rebutted the presumption of state protection since the agents of harm in this case is the government and the security forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo, it is clear that state protection would not be reasonably forthcoming.

[34]     Finally, I have assessed whether or not there is a viable internal flight alternative available to you in Democratic Republic of Congo.

[35]     Since the state authorities are the agent of persecution and since they control the entire territory, I find that there is no viable internal flight alternative for you anywhere in the country as there would be a serious possibility of persecution throughout the country.

[36]     For the foregoing reasons, I find that you are both Convention refugees and I therefore accept your claims.

[37]     Thank you and end of the decision.

—PROCEEDINGS CONCLUDED

Categories
All Countries Syria

2019 RLLR 86

Citation: 2019 RLLR 86
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: March 5, 2019
Panel: D. Young
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Ali Dakakni
Country: Syria
RPD Number: TB7-16920
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000032-000036


REASONS FOR DECISION

[1]       This is the decision in the claims of [XXX] (the principal claimant), [XXX] (the principal claimant’s spouse), [XXX] and [XXX], (the minor claimants). The claimants are making claims against Syria, seeking Canada’s protection pursuant to sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).1 The principal claimant was appointed Designated Representative for the minor claimants. A third minor claimant, citizen of the United States, (U.S.), had initially made a claim with the rest of the family but that claim was withdrawn before the hearing.

[2]       The claimants have lived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since 2016. They had residence permits based on the principal claimant’s employment. The principal claimant was, according to documents filed, a valued employee of [XXX] in Dubai.2 Prior to that, he had worked for the same company in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The family was planning to re-locate to Canada for the principal claimant to take a job with [XXX] in Toronto. The family’s application to the Canadian government for a visa was refused because “the LMIA/Job Offer which you have provided in support of the application is fraudulent”.3 A subsequent application for a visa was also refused. The principal claimant alleges that because he was leaving his job in UAE, his employer had replaced him and refused to extend his employment. As a result, the claimants would be required to leave UAE. The only country they had a right to live in was their country of nationality, Syria. The family fears targeting due to their perceived opposition to the Assad regime and that the principal claimant would be forced to serve in the Syrian army. They had been issued Non-immigrant visas to the U.S. in 2015 valid until 2017. They travelled to the U.S. on [XXX] 2017. They crossed the Canada­U.S. border ten days later, outside of an authorized port of entry and made refugee claims.

[3]       The panel had concerns about the evidence regarding the claimants’ decision to leave the UAE. At the end of the hearing, counsel was given the opportunity to submit representations in writing. Along with his representations, counsel submitted documents regarding this issue along with documents about the U.S. administration’s statements regarding refugees from Syria and the text of a tweet from the Canadian Prime Minister. As these were relevant to issues raised by the panel in the hearing, the documents were entered into evidence.4

Identity

[4]       Certified copies of the claimants’ current Syrian passports were included with the referral.5 These are sufficient to establish the claimants’ identity and nationality.

Credibility and Subjective Fear

[5]       The panel stated in the hearing that credibility and subjective fear were issues in this claim. Specifically, on credibility, the truthfulness of the claimants’ evidence regarding why they had left the country they were living in, where they had ongoing resident status, even though that status was not permanent. Had the status been permanent, the claims would likely have been excluded from consideration in accordance with Article 1E. As it stands, the claimant’s decision to leave a country where they had status becomes a consideration in assessing their subjective fear. Further, the claimants’ decision not to make an asylum claims in the U.S. also gives rise to an issue of whether the claimants lack subjective fear and also affects the assessment of the credibility of their allegations of fear of return to Syria.

[6]       The documents submitted by counsel post-hearing give a detailed explanation of the claimant’s efforts to re-locate to Canada and set out more clearly the sequence of events. The panel finds, on a balance of probabilities, that when the claimants left the UAE, they were likely facing removal from that country.

[7]       Regarding the decision to pass through the U.S. and make a claim in Canada, the evidence is not as convincing. The claimants allege that the current president’s statements regarding a Muslim ban was the reason and that therefore they had no choice but cross over to Canada. The panel notes that the claimants had visas permitting them to enter the U.S. and had been allowed entry to the U.S. during the time of the president’s statements regarding banning Muslims but had been refused visas to travel to Canada. This undermines the claimants’ assertion that they would be more welcome in Canada than the U.S. Counsel in his submissions referred to the Canadian Prime Minister’s tweet.  The statements does re-affirm that Canada accepts refugees fleeing risk of persecution. The statement does not say that persons who are already in safe countries should leave those countries and instead come to Canada. That said, even though the panel does not find that the claimants would be unsafe in the U.S., their belief is not so completely unreasonable that the panel can find that it indicates a lack of subject fear sufficient to undermine their claim.

Objective Basis

[8]       With regard to the objective support for the claimants’ allegations of the risk they face in Syria, this is found in the documentary evidence. Political opinion in Syria is imputed to citizens based on their locality or family connections. The International Protection Considerations with Regard to People Fleeing the Syrian Arab Republic, Update IV prepared by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) states:

A particular and deepening feature of the conflict is that different parties to the conflict frequently impute a political opinion to larger groups of people, including families, tribes, religious or ethnic groups or whole towns, villages or neighbourhoods, by association. As such, members of a larger entity, without individually being singled out, become the targets for repercussions by different actors, including government forces, ISIS, and anti­government armed groups, for reason of real or perceived support to another party to the conflict.6

[9]       Refusal to take part in the actions of the Syrian army, in the current circumstances, is an expression of political opinion under the Convention definition and the actions which likely would be taken against the claimants would come within the definition of persecution.

Internal Flight Alternative and State Protection

[10]     Syria is embroiled in a multi-dimensional, multi-national war which affects the entire country and has led to extreme sectarian violence. I find that the current security situation in the country is such that there is no access to state protection or a viable internal flight alternative for this claimants at the current time.

CONCLUSION

[11]     Having considered all of the evidence before me, I find the claimants to be Convention refugees and I accept the claims.

(signed)           D. Young

March 5, 2019

1 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27 as amended.
2 Exhibit 10.
3 Emphasis added.
4 Exhibit 11.
5 Exhibit 1.
6 Exhibit 6, NDP for Syria (28 September 2018), item 1.12.

Categories
All Countries Egypt

2019 RLLR 85

Citation: 2019 RLLR 85
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: March 1, 2019
Panel: Maria Vega
Counsel for the Claimant(s): John P. Howorun
Country: Egypt
RPD Number: TB7-16817
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000027-000031


[1]       PRESIDING MEMBER: This is the decision in the case of file number TB7-16817. This decision is with respect to the claim of Mr. [XXX]. He claims to be a citizen of Egypt and is claiming refugee protection pursuant to Sections 96 and Section 97.(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[2]       This decision is being rendered orally today and a written form of these reasons will be sent to your home at your address, sir, and they may also be edited for spelling, syntax, grammar as well as references to the applicable case law and legislation as well as exhibits.

[3]       I find that the claimant is a national of Egypt as is established by his testimony and by the supporting documentation filed; namely, his passport, a certified true copy of which is found in Exhibit 1, as well as his Egyptian identity card which was found in Exhibit 9.

[4]       From this evidence I conclude on a balance of probabilities that the claimant has Egyptian citizenship and that he is who he claims to be.

[5]       Mr. [XXX], I find that you are a Convention refugee for the following reasons.

[6]       In this case the nexus to the Convention definition is your imputed political opinion. You have come to the attention of the security authorities in Egypt, at first through your attaining what you believe to be an authentic building permit to build a barn on your property. Then you proceeded to build this and then when it was demolished and you complained about that you came facing the police and then were taken to the police station.

[7]       You also appear from your evidence to have come to the attention of the police authorities through your involvement in attending anti-government, political demonstrations in November 2016, as well as by posting on your Facebook page what were anti-government opinions as well as the fact that you had attended those demonstrations.

[8]       The allegations are found in your Basis of Claim Form and I will just summarize them, but I won’t provide every detail.

[9]       These demonstrations which you attended in November 2016 were against the government of Mr. El-Sisi giving two Egyptian islands to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and also they were against the rising inflation that was taking place in Egypt.

[10]     With respect to the building permit which you had obtained from what you believe to be a legitimate source, the office that issued the permits, you had paid your 4,000 Egyptian pounds and then you proceeded to build the barn in December of 2016.

[11]     Then shortly afterwards on the 7th of January 2017 the police went to your home with the equipment and commenced demolishing the barn.

[12]     Then when you protested you were subsequently taken the police station. You were there accused of assaulting police officers with weapons which you then denied, and then you were kept in solitary confinement for two months and warned to not speak out against the government again or you would be killed.

[13]     Your family who had gone looking for you at the police station where you were taken had been told by the authorities at that time that you were released the very first day, thus causing them to extreme fear thinking that you had disappeared as others had – as it had happened to others.

[14]     You also understood by the warning that you were given by the police that they were aware of your anti-government opinions and the posts that you had published on Facebook as you had not spoken out against the government in any way until that point except by writing on your Facebook page which was in your account, and by attending the two protests in November of 2016.

[15]     You were released from detention on the [XXX] 2017. Customers who had come to you in the past for painting jobs had ostracized you as did your friends who stopped contacting you.

[16]     And there was the belief that your detention by the police was for the illegal building of the barn, but you told people at your brother’s barbershop that it was not for that, but because you had spoken out against them for what they were doing to you.

[17]     Also upon learning from your cousin whose friend while working at the national security office in Garbaya (ph) you learned that there was a warrant for your arrest.

[18]     You immediately commenced making arrangements to leave the country and to obtain a temporary resident visa to Canada. You then travelled to Canada in [XXX] 2017 and subsequently make a protection claim in August 2017.

[19]     You have a wife and two children in Egypt and they are staying with her parents instead of at your home as you are aware that the police have gone to your home looking for you for about six times and they have even gone to look for you at your home while there’s no one there and this information was obtained by your wife and she informed you that she obtained it from the neighbours who saw them go there.

[20]     And you provided a picture of the broken door that the police caused recently in January and this photograph is Exhibit 10.

[21]     You fear returning to Egypt because you fear that the police will detain you, that you may disappear or you may possibly be killed by the police or you will be given a long sentence for something that you did not do which was you did not assault the police officers and not with weapons either.

[22]     The temporary resident visa that you obtained to Canada was obtained through the help of a person and to whom you paid $10,000 total and that they arranged that you would leave the country without any problems and so you did.

[23]     Regarding your credibility, Mr. [XXX], I found that your response were generally consistent with your Basis of Claim Form. I was concerned about the BOC omission whereby you omitted to mention that you had written your political opinions on Facebook or on social media.

[24]     You provided an explanation that you did not have any copies of these to give, given that you had someone, an expert on computers close your account or you believe they closed it permanently or deactivated it permanently so that there would be no risk to your wife and your sisters and your family in Egypt once you had left the country. Therefore, that is why you did not mention the Facebook account and your political opinions in social media to your counsel and then put that in your Basis of Claim Form.

[25]     I have considered your education level and the hearing evidence and find that this explanation under the circumstances of this case is reasonable and that you have had in this hearing opportunities to embellish your evidence by your testimony, but you did not take those opportunities. Therefore, I’ve concluded that I find you to be a credible witness and some of your response were very spontaneous.

[26]     Your evidence is consistent with the documentary material both in counsel’s package as well as in the National Documentation Package found at Exhibit 3 primarily with respect to the deteriorating human rights situation in Egypt.

[27]     Counsel’s package of Exhibit 5 speaks also about the – sorry, Exhibit 8 speaks about the corruption that has taken over Egypt primarily since the el-Sisi Government and the large bribes that are paid for people to build permit or get building permits where they should not be getting them and how this is a huge problem in Egypt at the present time.

[28]     In your case you believe that it was a legitimate and actual permit that you obtained whereby you continue – you proceeded to build your barn.  Whether it was or not that’s not – we won’t know, but the issue is that you are being charged by the police with something that you claim you did not do which was assaulting the police officers and anything that you have done with respect to protecting what you believe was your right to build that barn and complain to the police officers. They took that to be an example of a political opinion against them.

[29]     The situation in the documentary material clearly indicates that the human rights in Egypt are continuing to deteriorate.

[30]     There’s a report in Amnesty International with respect to 2017 that indicates that to be case. It speaks about the authorities arbitrarily restricting the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

[31]     It speaks there also about a crackdown plot by the government that was to include members of the Muslim Brotherhood as well as anyone that was perceived to be members of armed groups, but reliable human rights sources speak about how many people who were just sympathizers are often caught and unfairly treated in these group crackdowns.

[32]     In some cases detainees in political cases or anyone who has an opposing view to the government are often held in prolonged detention without charge or without trial.

[33]     The documentary material also speaks about unfair trials when these are held and anyone who has a view opposing the current government is held accountable for that view and will be detained.

[34]     Many human rights groups throughout the world believe that the Egyptian authorities have misused many of their powers against their own citizens and that the Egyptian authorities troll through social media to see who has said anything opposing the government and that is whereby you think that they may have read your Facebook posts and they may have.

[35]     I believe that for these reasons, Mr. [XXX], you cannot ask the Government of Egypt for protection because they are the source of persecution to you.

[36]     You also cannot go elsewhere in the country to live safely without hiding because you would face the same possibility or serious grounds of persecution given what is your imputed political opinion and that means that it’s the opinion of the authorities believe you have. It doesn’t really matter whether you actually have it, but the authorities in Egypt believe that you are against the government because of what you have said and maybe because of what you have written.

[37]     So for all of these reasons I find that you, [XXX], are a Convention refugee and I therefore accept your claim.

[38]     This hearing is now concluded. Thanks, Madam Interpreter, for all your assistance. Good day, Counsel.

[39]     COUNSEL: Thank you.

[40]     PRESIDING MEMBER: Good day to you, sir. All the best to everyone and we’re concluding now.

—- REASONS CONCLUDED —–

Categories
All Countries Burundi

2019 RLLR 84

Citation: 2019 RLLR 84
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: April 25, 2019
Panel: R. Jackson
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Micheal F. Loebach
Country: Burundi
RPD Number: TB7-08140
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000023-000026


REASONS FOR DECISION

[1]       [XXX], a citizen of Burundi, is claiming refugee protection pursuant to ss. 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act1 (IRPA).

FILE REVIEW PROCESS

[2]       The panel issued this decision without a hearing in accordance with paragraph 170(f) of the IRPA and the relevant instructions.

DETERMINATION

[3]       The panel finds that the claimant is a Convention refugee, as he has established that he faces a serious possibility of persecution on Convention grounds, if he returns to Burundi, by reason of his imputed political opinion and ethnicity.

ALLEGATIONS

[4]       The claimant is 21 years old and a Tutsi.

[5]       The claimant’s allegations are contained in his Basis of Claim (BOC) form. In summary, he fears returning to Burundi because he has been targeted in the past by Jmbonerakures and other state actors due to his ethnicity and imputed anti-government political opinion. The authorities and state actors have also persecuted his family members over the years, due to their Tutsi ethnicity and real or imputed political opinions.

ANALYSIS

Identity

[6]       The claimant’s identity as a national of Burundi was established by a copy of his passport.2

Credibility

[7]       The claimant’s allegations were credible and supported by probative evidence.

[8]       He presented various documents supporting certain aspects of his claim, particularly regarding the treatment his family members’ have received in Burundi.

[9]       The National Documentation Package (NDP) for Burundi shows the political violence in Burundi, government repression and violence against anti-government protesters and political opponents3.

[10]     The objective documentation mentions that protests against the government have involved Hutu and Tutsi; that Tutsi are often targeted4; and that family members of political opponents to the government’s third term of the president are subject to violence from government authorities or supporters due to their imputed political opinion.5 Sexual violence remained pervasive and was often used as a means of torture to obtain information or confessions from detainees. Rape was also committed while police officers or members of the Imbonerakure arrested a victim’s spouse or relative accused of belonging to an opposition party.

[11]     An example that illustrates the situation in Burundi is that on December 11, 2015, police and military personnel summarily executed dozens of persons in Bujumbura Mairie, including in Nyakabiga and Musaga. The bodies of persons who had been executed were also found in the commune of Mukike (Bujumbura Province). The extrajudicial executions that took place in December 2015, on a scale that exceeded those reported since April 2015, were accompanied or followed by torture, rape and arbitrary arrests.6

[12]     There are reports of summary executions by the Imbonerakure, acting either as auxiliaries of the defense and security forces or on their own initiative.7

[13]     There is ample evidence in the NDP indicating that there is a risk to Tutsis in Burundi when they are associated with political opposition, such as residing in an area associated with anti-regime protests or with a high population of Tutsis.

[14]     The objective documentation is consistent with the claimant’s allegations. The panel therefore accepts his allegations and that he has a subjective fear of returning to Burundi.

STATE PROTECTION

[15]     There is clear and convincing evidence before the panel that the state is unable or unwilling to protect the claimant, since the state is the agent of persecution. As noted in the objective documentation referred to above, the government has effective control of its territory.

INTERNAL FLIGHT ALTERNATIVE-IFA

[16]     Based on the evidence before the panel, there is a serious possibility of persecution throughout Burundi.

[17]     As indicated in the evidence above, the state is the agent of persecution and the government has effective control of its territory and would probably eventually find the claimant in another area of Burundi. Remaining in hiding in that country is unreasonable.

CONCLUSION

[18]     The claimant, [XXX], is a Convention refugee due to his imputed political opinion.

[19]     The panel accepts his claim.

(signed)           R. Jackson

April 25, 2019

1 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c.27 as amended.
2 Exhibit I – passport.
3 Exhibit 3 – National Documentation Package (NDP) for Burundi (March 29, 2019), items 2.1, 4.7 and 13.1.
4 Ibid., items 2.1 and 13.6.
5 Ibid., items 2.1 and 4.14.
6 Ibid., item 2.10.
7 Ibid.

Categories
All Countries Burundi

2019 RLLR 82

Citation: 2019 RLLR 82
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: December 31, 2019
Panel: Elsa Kelly-Rhéaume
Country: Burundi
RPD Number: MB9-07334
Associated RPD Number(s): MB9-07374
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000015-000019


[1]       After having heard the evidence and analyzed it, the Board is ready to render its decision with regards to the claims of [XXX] (file number MB9-07334) and his sister [XXX] (file number MB9-07374).

[2]       The claimants allege they are citizens of Burundi and they are seeking refugee protection pursuant to Sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[3]       The claimants allege that they are Hutu. In 2018, they completed their high school diploma in Rwanda. Upon return to Burundi in [XXX] 2018, the claimant, [XXX], alleges that he received a police summons asking him to present himself to the police on December 23rd, 2018. When he presented himself at this state, intelligence agents questioned him about what he had been doing in Rwanda. They took his phone and implied that he was involved with a group of youths spreading propaganda on social media.

[4]       The claimant also alleges that he was kidnapped on January 25th, 2019 where his watch and phone were stolen and he was held without food or water for two days. He alleges that he was beaten and interrogated with regards to the reasons he went to Rwanda and asking him who he was working with to undermine the government in Burundi. In the end, he was released because his father paid millions of francs to his abductors.

[5]       The claimant, [XXX], alleges that she received threatening phone calls from individuals saying that she would be killed and raped because she was gathering information on Burundi in order to help groups in Rwanda.

[6]       The claimants arrived in Canada on [XXX], 2019 and sought asylum on April 10th, 2019.

[7]       The Board finds that the claimants are “Convention refugees” as they have established a serious possibility of persecution should they return to their country of origin based on one of the grounds set out in Section 96 of the IRPA, namely their imputed political opinion for being suspected of working against the government of Burundi.

[8]       With regards to identity, the claimants provided certain identity documents at the request of the Board that contained many errors. During the first hearing, the claimants had difficulty explaining the reasons for these mistakes.

[9]       At the second hearing, the claimant Mrs. [XXX] explained that she had since spoken to her father who told her that he had obtained these documents when the claimants were already in Canada. Her father said that he had gone to different authorities to obtain the required documents, but as he does not read French he did not realize they contained mistakes. He also told her that he obtained a new national identity card for her because he couldn’t find her original one at home.

[10]     Thus, the Board gives no weight to the following identity documents as they contained many mistakes and the claimants have not established that they were obtained legitimately: Exhibits C-1 and C-2 which are the attestations of residence, C-10 and C-12 which are the birth certificates and C-13 which is the national identity card for Mrs. [XXX].

[11]     That being said, the claimants also submitted as evidence of their identity their two authentic passports on which the information is consistent with the claimants’ declarations. The claimants were also able to explain how they had obtained these passports and their explanations were conforming with the documentary evidence.

[12]     They also submitted several laissez-passer which are authentic documents given by Burundi for allowing them to travel and study in Rwanda. These documents do not contain any anomalies and are consistent with the information found in their passports. Consequently, the Board gives these primary identity documents weight and strong probative value with regards to the claimants’ identities.

[13]     While the Board evidently does not condone the fabrication of documents to bolster an asylum claim, it accepts the claimants’ explanation with regards to their father’s undertakings to obtain these documents while the claimants were already in Canada. The claimants are both young and relied on their father to obtain these documents as they thought they were absolutely necessary for their asylum claim.

[14]     In conclusion, the identity of the claimants has been established as nationals of Burundi on a balance of probabilities.

[15]     With regards to credibility, the claimants were both credible witnesses. With regards to the threats and violence suffered in Burundi, the claimant, [XXX], recounted in detail how he was detained and interrogated several times. He also explains his dissatisfaction of the Board why he did not write about his detention in his IMM 5669 form. He submitted that he did not know who had abducted him and because he had not been taken to a legitimate jail, he did not think that he had to write this information in the form. The Board finds that this is a logical explanation as the claimant was not detained lawfully.

[16]     The claimant, [XXX], also testified in detail about the threatening phone calls she received and she added significant details to those already found in her Basis of Claim form which bolster her credibility.

[17]     The claimants also provided documentary evidence that supported their allegations. Exhibits C-3 through C-7 proves that they indeed attended high school in Rwanda and Exhibit C-18 is a copy of the police summons that was issued to the principal claimant. In light of their credibility and the supporting documents provided, the claimants have proven their allegations on a balance of probabilities.

[18]     The Board finds that the claimants have established that they face a future risk of being subjected to arbitrary detention, ill treatment such as physical assault and torture, sexual violence and death if they had to return to Burundi.

[19]     The documentary evidence found in the National Documentation Package at Tabs 1.5, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 10.5 and 13.1 states that authorities in Burundi and Imbonerakure are responsible for serious human rights violations, summary executions, rape, kidnappings and intimidation of people who are perceived to be political opponents. Furthermore, Tab 1.5 states that individuals who have lived in the countries surrounding Burundi such as in Rwanda have been subjected to arbitrary arrests and other human rights violations as they are suspected of collaborating with rebel groups based in Rwanda who are seeking to overthrow the regime in Burundi.

[20]     Not only do the claimants fit that profile as they studied in Rwanda, but they also lived in Kasikibuye (phonetic), a neighbourhood where many young people have been arrested and where mass graves have been found. In light of the attacks and threats received by both claimants in Burundi, the Board finds that they face a serious possibility of persecution were they to return to their country of origin.

[21]     The Board further finds that there is clear and convincing evidence that the State is unable or unwilling to provide them with adequate protection. In the case at hand, the agents of persecution are agents of the State such as the police, intelligence services and the Imbonerakure. As such, the claimants cannot reasonably receive any kind of State protection. The claimants have rebutted the presumption of State protection in this particular case.

[22]     The Board finally analyzed whether the claimants could avail themselves of an internal flight alternative within Burundi. However, because they face persecution from State agents who control the entire country, they could not safely relocate anywhere. State authorities and Imbonerakure have demonstrated that they have the interest and ability to track down any presumed political opponent. Thus, they do not have a viable internal flight alternative.

[23]     Based on this analysis, the Board reiterates that the claimants are “Convention refugees” and their claims are accepted.

Categories
All Countries Rwanda

2019 RLLR 80

Citation: 2019 RLLR 80
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: September 26, 2019
Panel: Julie Morin
Country: Rwanda
RPD Number: MB9-02867
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 000006-000010


[1]       So, I have considered your testimony and the other evidence in the case, and I am ready to render my decision orally today. These are the reasons for the decision in the claim of [XXX], who claims to be a citizen of Rwanda, and is claiming refugee protection pursuant to section 96 and paragraph 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

ALLEGATIONS

[2]       You allege the following. You are a political activist. You are against the government of Paul Kagame, who is the current President in Rwanda right now. You’re coming from a family with a history because your father was targeted by the regime. He was part of the same party, but your father opposed the President and he was, you said in your testimony actually, that he was killed by the regime, from what I understood. Yourself, in 2013, you started your social involvement by funding a non-governmental organization called “Help a Child Initiative” which was in 2013, as I mentioned, until 2015. But you explained to me as well that the government asked you… You were able to gather a lot of parents to take care of children, and the government wanted you to promote the referendum and ask the parents to vote “yes” to the referendum. At that time, you refused to do that, and you left the organization.

[3]       You left Rwanda for a few years, two years actually. You worked in Dubai. Then, you came back to Rwanda and then, there, you started to work with, I should say closely, with Diane Rwigara. Supporting her in her… in her… in her campaign, and she was running for President at that time. You said that, even like you were in Dubai, you called her to give her your support. Then, after that, the government just did not allow her to continue to run as President, but you decided with her and with a group of people to continue your political involvement. And, you founded a movement called “[XXX] Movement”. And, the election took place in August 4th,  2017. You…  Diane Rwigara was not a candidate; she was not allowed as I mentioned.

[4]       Then, yourself, you started to have problems. You left Rwanda for the United States in [XXX], 2018, but during that year there was a lot of problems you had. You were arrested twice in August 2017, and in October as well. You were interrogated. You were even accu… You appeared in court and you provided the judgement from the court. You were accused of being… of having influence or wanted to… like an enemy of the nation, being against the government and bringing the youth in your movement. You were…  You had to report to the police every week, then, until December 2017, but that continued after. You received phone calls, and in January threats. You were worried, but finally after a few months you…  you left for the U.S. And, after, even like… When you left, and in October 17, you received a second summons. The government was still after you. You had to report to the authorities for criminal case… for a criminal case. There is no detail, but you, of course, you didn’t go. You were in the U.S.A friend … A co-worker actually sent you the summons, so you were able to provide the original today. So, you’re… The authorities are still looking for you and you’re afraid of going back to Rwanda because of your political activities, your political opinion.

DETERMINATION

[5]       This is my decision. I find that you are a “Convention refugee” as you have established a serious possibility of persecution on account of your political opinion.

ANALYSIS

IDENTITY

[6]       I find that your identity as a national of Rwanda has been established through your testimony and also the supporting documentation filed, namely your passport from Rwanda. In the passport, there was also your American Visa, and your identity was established through that process as well.

CREDIBILITY

[7]       I find you to be a credible witness and therefore I believe what you have alleged in support of your claim. You testified in a straightforward manner, and I didn’t find contradictions or omissions between your testimony and the other evidence I have. I think that you had   you had a lot to say. For instance, you wanted to speak about your family background. I think you were influenced by your father’s decisions in your activities and the way you… in your thoughts as well. So, for that, I find that you were credible.

[8]       Also, you provided important documentation, the membership card from the [XXX], Diane Rwigara’s movement. You provided this card in P-2. You provided as well in P-3 the decision of the court. You were accused, most precisely, you were accused of crime of discrimination, divisionism among the youth, instigating divisions to hate the country and leaders, as well as genocide ideology, as stated in your case. So, this is a serious accusation in the judgement, but from the evidence I have, you only express your political opinion and you were fighting for your ideas. There’s also P-4, the summons you received from… the second summons you received while you were… while you were in the United States in October 2018. It says, as I mentioned, it refers to “criminal cases”. It doesn’t say precisely what it is, but it says if you will not appear, you will be apprehended by authorities in charge. So, they are ready to arrest you. But you didn’t. So, I took all these exhibits into consideration, and I find that they contribute to your allegations … in supporting your allegations.

OBJECTIVE BASIS OF FUTURE RISK

[9]       Based on the credibility of your allegations, and the documentary evidence that I have, I find that you have established a future risk that you will be subjected to the following harm: arrest, detention, torture, and death, possibly, death. The torture… You were submitted to torture before, and also, you also mentioned that you have… there are people who are involved in your movement who have simply disappeared. The fact that you face this risk is corroborated by the following documents, and this is the last version of the NDP. So, there are a lot of documents about how the authorities are treating opposition in Rwanda. So, for instance, on the Rwandan authorities suppressing dissent through violence and intimidation, and on individuals who are subjected to arbitrary arrest and physical abuse in custody, this is in tab 2.3. On the fact that political parties are unable to function normally in Rwanda because of arrest and harassment of their members, this is in tab 2.4. There is only one opposition party registered in Rwanda. The other parties, they cannot be… they are not allowed, and this is in tab 2.4. On the repression of any dissident voice qualified as being enemy of the nation, this is in tab 2.7. And, on opposition parties and media reduced to silence, this is in tab 2.7. Now, we spoke about the father of Diane Rwigara, Assinapol Rwigara, who died in 2015, officially it’s from an automobile accident, but the family suspects that… the family believe that it was orchestrated, and this is in tab 4.12 and also in tab 9.1.

NATURE OF HARM

[10]     This harm clearly amounts to persecution.

STATE PROTECTION

[11]     I find that there is clear and convincing evidence before me that the State is unable or unwilling to provide you with adequate protection. In fact, the State is the agent of persecution, and the State is looking for you. You provided this… this evidence, the second summons, that they want to arrest you. So, I don’t think that it would be reasonable for me to tell you “well, you go and ask for protection from the State”. You would be at risk I believe. There are a lot of arrests of members of the opposition, leaders, activists and journalists right now in Rwanda, and this is in tab 4.1. This is a Human Rights Watch report that details this information. There are also disappearances. People, they disappear simply or they are like you are… you were, actually. They are… They have… They are charged with criminal cases. So, that is not State protection. In fact, the State wants to punish these people.

INTERNAL FLIGHT ALTERNATIVE

[12]     I have considered whether you would be able to go to another region of Rwanda and on the evidence before me, I find that there is serious possibility of persecution throughout Rwanda. There is, in a report in tab 2.7, which explains that though in Rwanda there is some economic success, and it appears to be a great country. But in fact, there is a repression and it is an authoritarian State now in Rwanda. People have a fear of expressing their ideas. There is, again, disappearances of people or opposition members, assassinations. So, this is all in this report, as I mentioned.

CONCLUSION

[13]     Based on the analysis above, I conclude that you are a “Convention refugee” and therefore I accept your claim.

Categories
All Countries Libya

2019 RLLR 79

Citation: 2019 RLLR 79
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: April 9, 2019
Panel: Jeffrey Brian Gullickson
Country: Libya
RPD Number: MB8-19759
RPD Associated Number(s): MB8-19775
ATIP Number: A-2020-01459
ATIP Pages: 00001-00005


[1]       I have considered your testimony and the other evidence in this case, and I am ready to render my decision orally. These are the reasons for the decision in the claims of Mr. [XXX] and Ms. [XXX], who are citizens of Libya and are claiming refugee protection pursuant to section 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. In rendering my reasons, I have considered and applied the person’s… the Chairperson’s guidelines on women refugee claimants fearing gender-related persecutions.

ALLEGATIONS

[2]       The claimants are 22 and 19. They are from Tripoli. They are associated with Misrata through their brother. They had come to Canada approximately in 2014 as students, last… leaving the country, for Mr. [XXX], it was in late [XXX] 2015, for Ms. [XXX], it was [XXX] 2016. The two claimants are brother and sister. They do have two siblings who are still leaving in Libya, but most of their family members, or at least their parents, are living in Qatar where the two claimants had lived for several years before the revolution in Libya in 2011. The claimants had visited Libya recently for Mr. [XXX] in [XXX] 2015, for the female claimant, his sister, in [XXX] 2016. They had stayed for approximately two weeks at that time and for period previous to that, when they were visiting but living in Qatar. The brother, [XXX] (phonetic), had fought in armed conflict in one of the militias starting in 2011 and through to 2013. He was fighting Gaddafi forces, pro-Gaddafi forces, during that period, and he had been targeted by rival militias. And, he had warned the claimants not to return to Libya. The claimants fear that they would be targeted by rival militias, or other groups, and would be the targets of kidnapping, extortion, or related harm, or some harm just related to being a perceived opponent for political reasons or for being associated with Misrata militia. So, the claimants made their refugee claims eventually in Canada.

DETERMINATION

[3]       I find that you are “Convention refugees” as you fear persecution by reason of a member of a particular social group or for imputed political opinion, and this is in association with your brother [XXX] activity in the Misrata militia or a similar militia associated with Misrata, and that you would be targeted by rival militias as a possible political opponent.

ANALYSIS

IDENTITY

[4]       I find that your identity as nationals of Libya is established by your passports you’ve deposited as evidence.

CREDIBILITY

[5]       I find that you were generally credible in your testimony. There were some credibility concerns but they are not determinative. There is probative evidence in support of your claim. The evidence that you did submit were primarily the DVD, which was fairly detailed, it’s almost … I think it’s an hour and a half. It’s approximately an hour and a half, that was a documentary on the claimants’ brother [XXX], who fought in the armed conflict in Libya after the revolution or in the period of 2011 and shortly after that, showing that he had taken up arms and fought in that conflict. He is clearly identified in the credits of the film as well and corresponds to the claimants’ Basis of Claim form where they list their family members. Another document is P-2, which is a letter from the claimants’ father, which is basically explaining his limited and temporary status in Qatar as an employee of a [XXX]. It’s unclear whether he would be able to renew his status in Qatar, but one of the allegations by the claimants is that if they were not allowed to stay in Canada, and there was a risk of being forced to Libya, they would have no refuge in Qatar since their own father has only temporary status there. And, the claimants don’t appear to have any permanent status in Qatar.

[6]       The Documentation Package for Libya, dated March 2019, describes the conflict in Libya. That the Gaddafi regime was violently overthrown in 2011 by armed insurgents and NATO, and that’s tab 1.12, sections 5.1.1 to section 5.1.3. And, that’s in the Documentation Package. There is conflict between the ruling groups in Libya. One is in Tobruk and Albida now, in the East, and the other is the… is in the West in Tripoli, which is acting under the UN Accord which had named the government of National Accord as the governing body or the governing structure, and that was in 2015. But that governing structure was not endorsed fully by the parties, and that there are two competing factions in the East and in the West now. And, that is described in tab 1.2, sections the same, 5.1.1 to 5.1.3.

[7]       The NDP mentions that family association is not documented as a factor to probably cause danger for other family members who are not primary target … the primary target of aggression by militias or the government in Libya. But there is conflicting information about that, because there is much information in the Documentation Package that describes security zones and armed militias organizing along family clan and tribal lines. So, that would mean by association people could be targeted for violence, and that information is found in tab 9.4 of the Documentation Package, section 4.11. The National Documentation Package indicates that the rest of the country, and this is outside Tripoli, Tobruk, and… what did I say? Albida, and there are other areas that are being disputed by various factions, armed militias, etc. They would be pro-Gaddafi, anti-Gaddafi, Islamic extremist groups, etc. And, there is not a government body that could offer adequate State protection for those areas in Libya. The Documentation Package indicates that Tripoli’s militia groups Libya Dawn, or it’s an umbrella. The group Libya Dawn was dominated by the Misrata based on (inaudible) in 2014. And, that militia included the Tripoli’s… Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade, or the TRB, and that’s found in tab 1.12 section 7.6. The NDP mentions in several places the Misrata militia as the local armed forces which include… or included … The Misrata had been fighting other forces, and this would be in the Magarha and Sabha region, in 2016, and this is… so, there are some rival militias fighting against Misrata, that’s 4.15 pages 20 to 21.

[8]       There are other mentions of Misrata fighting other rival militias. In any case, the National Documentation Package… because the two government that are functioning, and because there’s much maneuvering by the various militias to control territory, being associated with one or the other militias would put someone at risk, necessarily being identified as an opponent to the other militias. So, the claimants, I understand in their situation, their relationship with their brother would be by association, associated with Misrata militia and they would face trouble and would be targeted by the militias which are opposing Misrata.

STATE PROTECTION

[9]       I find there is clear and convincing evidence that the State, as we understand it, Libya is unable or unwilling to provide adequate protection for the claimants in their particular circumstances, partly because part of the State may actually be against the Misrata militias, for example the government in the East. And the other reason is that, even the government in the West, the National Documentation Package shows (inaudible) I already stated. And, also mentions that the government in the West that’s been sanctioned by the UN to… sanctioned by the UN meaning that they have the approval of the UN, they have delegated their security duties to various militias in the area that are allied with the government in the East… or in the West rather, in Tripoli. So, consequently, the State has not shown their capacity or willingness to protect the claimants, and they would not… the State would not be able to protect the claimants if they were to go in other areas in Libya.

INTERNAL FLIGHT ALTERNATIVE

[10]     On the evidence, I find that there is a serious possibility of persecution throughout Libya for the claimants for the same reasons I’ve already stated above, general lack of security, lack of State control of certain territory, and the inability to protect the claimants.

CONCLUSION

[11]     I conclude that you are “Convention refugees” and I accept your claim. Thank you.

Categories
All Countries India

2019 RLLR 73

Citation: 2019 RLLR 73
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: December 13, 2019
Panel: I. Colle
Counsel for the claimant(s): Peter J. Wuebbolt
Country: India
RPD Number: TB9-05340
ATIP Number: A-2020-01274
ATIP Pages: 000214-000220


DECISION

[1]       MEMBER: So, I have considered your testimony and the other evidence in the case and I’m ready to render my decision, orally.

[2]       I would like to add that in the event that written reasons are issued, a written form of these reasons may be edited for spelling, syntax and grammar and references to the applicable case law and documentary evidence may also be included. I also may add additional footnotes and correct any inadvertent errors.

[3]       Now, the claimant is, Mr. [XXX] and he is a 40-year-old citizen of India and is claiming refugee protection pursuant to subsections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[4]       I considered this claim mainly under Section 96, since the claimant claimed persecution based on political opinion or imputed political opinion.

[5]       Now, for the reasons that will follow, I find that you are a Convention refugee, for the following reasons:

[6]       He is a resident citizen of lndia who lives in Punjab State.

[7]       He is a member of the Shiromani Akali Dal, SAD, political party.

[8]       Now, there are two Akali Dal parties in Punjab. The claimant said he was associated with the [XXX] wing, which is led by [XXX].

[9]       He said he was beaten and harassed by members of the Congress Party and also by their links with the police. He said he was detained and tortured and was asked to appear at the police station every month for an indefinite period.

[10]     The claimant is or was a [XXX] in India.

[11]     He was a member of the [XXX] wing since [XXX] 2011. He used to assist his cousin in arranging pilgrimage trips for community members in Yatra in Pakistan and he would also take part in organizing Party meetings with the help of community members.

[12]     In [XXX] 2017, a Congress Party area leader noticed him and asked him to join the Party. He refused to join.

[13]     In [XXX] 2017, he was beaten by three Congress Party members when he was convincing a group of people to attend his Party meetings.

[14]     He went to a doctor for treatment. He went to the police to report the incident but instead of helping him, the police threatened him with detention for making false accusations against Congress Party members and ordered him to leave the station.

[15]     In [XXX] 2017, he was able to convince four community members to join the Party. One of them had previously supported the Congress Party and he was also a cousin of the Congress Party leader.

[16]     In [XXX] 2017, he received a threatening phone call from a Congress Party member and on [XXX], 2018, he was picked up from home by the police and detained without charges. He was interrogated and beaten by the police and told that he had links with Sikh militants.

[17]     They questioned him about his involvement in the arrangement of [XXX] trips for pilgrims to Pakistan and the addresses of people that had assisted him in trips in the past and the people he knew in Pakistan. An officer warned that he could be threatened indefinitely on suspicion of espionage.

[18]     His uncle came and after some negotiations, was able to get him out of detention on [XXX], 2018 after paying a bribe.

[19]     However, the officer still told him he had to report every month indefinitely and he warned him not to be involved in any political activity and if he did not show up at the station, he would be tracked down and picked up from anywhere in the country and brought to the station where they would torture him to death.

[20]     Upon his release, he needed medical attention.

[21]     About a week later, the Congress leader, again, threatened him that it is a matter of time before he is beaten to death or permanently detained by authorities.

[22]     He started to make plans, had to collect substantial funds in order to leave the country. He relocated to the state of Himachal Pradesh. It’s to the east of Punjab. So, he stayed there and still though, would come back to the state of Punjab to report monthly and when he would come back, he alleged that he would be slapped, manhandled and humiliated by the authorities.

[23]     His friend was able to find an agent who asked for 20 lakh rupees to make overseas travel arrangements. He made visa applications for himself and his spouse, without their daughters and he arrived in Canada on [XXX], 2018, accompanied by his spouse, who soon returned to India.

[24]     He was in status. He had status for about six months and was able to contact present Counsel and started the process of making a refugee claim before his status expired in [XXX] 2018.

[25]     He approached Immigration with his Counsel in [XXX]. The forms were finally filled out in [XXX] 2019.

[26]     Now, the claimant also alleged that he suffered severe mistreatment, both physically- he underwent beatings and harsh treatment in prison and has continued to do follow-up medical visits and he said that, because of the continuing stress and tension, also because of the mistreatment, eventually contributed to him suffering a [XXX] in 2019, for which he still being treated today.

[27]     Now, the claimant, regarding identity, he said he had lost his passport and he provided a police, Toronto Police Service report, part of Exhibit 5, that he reported the loss of his passport but I note in his Exhibit 1, there is a certified true copy of his Indian identity card from the government, issued by the government of India, with his name, [XXX] and it has his address in Punjab, [XXX] in Punjab.

[28]     The claimant spoke fluently in Punjabi. He had other identity documents. In Exhibit 5, people attesting to his identity, including a letter from a spiritual centre, from relatives. There is also copies of his work in India as a [XXX].

[29]     So, on a balance of probabilities, I conclude that the claimant is who he says he is and that he is from the Punjab.

[30]     I found the claimant to be a very credible witness and, therefore, believe what he has alleged in support of his claim. I agree with Counsel that he did not exaggerate or embellish his claim. He testified in a straightforward manner and there were no relevant inconsistencies in his testimony or contradictions between his testimony and the other evidence before me.

[31]     During the hearing, I asked for additional details and he credibly is, I find, on a balance of probabilities, a member Shiromani Akali Dal Party, the XXXX wing. He was able to identify the leader. He was able to identify members of the provincial assembly, both from the Akali Dal Party and from the, what he called, his agents of persecution, from the BJP Party.

[32]     He gave vivid details about his detention in jail at the police station in XXXX, how he was beaten, humiliated, sometimes the officers went out of their way to humiliate him and to beat him and he was kept, basically, in a state of terror for every time he would report every month and while the claimant did relocate to, as I said, the neighbouring state of, Himachal Pradesh and we’ll go into that later as we discuss internal flight alternative.

[33]     So, I find that he was in effect, he was – I would not – his profile was not as a high-level Shiromani Akali Dal member, nor a low level. I think. I think he was a mid-level member who was active in his party and had good knowledge of the political situation in Punjab and credibly came to the attention of Congress Party members.

[34]     Now, in this case, given that the – in this case, in that the police were agents of persecution, I find that state protection would not be reasonably forthcoming.

[35]     Now, I find that the claimant has made a claim under Section 96, political opinion and before we get into that and the issue of IFA, I’m going to just note that he had many corroborating documents in his Exhibit 5 that attest to his political involvement and the history of abuse that he alleged.

[36]     Now, before we get into documents, I should also mention, I did consider the issue of delay in making a claim but I note the claimant came with a visa, was never out of status and made arrangements with Counsel to make his refugee claim before that status had expired.

[37]     So, in any event, the delay in making a claim cannot be a sole reason for denying a claim and in this regard, I’ve given him the benefit of the doubt.

[38]     In Exhibit 5, we have, attesting to his religious background, the letter from the [XXX] in Toronto.

[39]     I found a letter also from his Party in Exhibit 5 at page 2, which, on a balance of probabilities, I find genuine and it attests to his persecution he suffered in Punjab.

[40]     There is supporting affidavits from family and Party members throughout. Again, I find no inconsistencies in those.

[41]     There is plenty of documentation that he was a [XXX]. He did explain that there was a Canadian visitor’s visa. He didn’t know what the agent filled out, claimed he worked for the local government. But there’s documents in Exhibit 5 that attest to his work in the agricultural industry as a [XXX].

[42]     There is also – and I was able to examine the originals – again, I could find no discrepancy, internal discrepancies in these documents. There is page 13 document from the [XXX] Clinic. There is another one from a hospital in – [XXX] Hospital. There is also his continuing treatment in Toronto in Etobicoke.

[43]     It states on page 15 from, Dr. [XXX], that he is, he has a [XXX] history and he has attended to his office on six times.

[44]     There is some more comprehensive consultation report on the [XXX] situation, starting at page 16. It’s a consultation report that was done on [XXX], 2019. It talks about his [XXX] history, the impairment he has undergone, as well.

[45]     There is also many photos of his political and agricultural activities as a [XXX] in Punjab.

[46]     So, on a balance of probabilities, I find that he was a [XXX] and he was involved with the Party.

[47]     Now, internal flight alternative, I considered whether there was a viable internal flight alternative for you. I identified a number of areas in India, including in the neighbouring state at Himachal Pradesh.

[48]     Also, I mentioned cities such as, Mumbai and Calcutta, Delhi, also as, Hyderabad. Now, I should note that in regards to Himachal Pradesh, the ruling party of the state is his alleged agent of persecution, the Indian National Congress and I considered the other – his argument that he could be traced by his residency card or that he could be traced by the police when he’d have to rent, for example, when he’d have to do some requirements and procedures for tenant registration, that he could be traced that way.

[49]     However, I conclude that in regards to the first prong of the test, there is no serious possibility of persecution based on a review of the documentary evidence that, for example, in the National Documentation Package, Item 14.10, the Home Office Report on Internal Relocation, at page 6, states that:

“Tracking and surveillance systems appear to be limited and there is no centralized registration system in place to enable police to check the whereabouts of inhabitants in their own state or in other states or union territories and that each state and union territory has responsibility for its own separate police force and effectiveness and conduct varies across states.”

[50]     So, I find, based on a review – especially of Exhibit 14.10, there is no serious possibility of him being traced. It says that, India, for example, at page 10:

“India does not have a centralized registration system in place to enable police to check the whereabouts of inhabitants in their own state let alone in other states or union territories and that tracking and surveillance systems appear to be limited.”

[51]     However, I have to also consider the second prong of the test and that whether it be reasonable, in all the particular circumstances, for the claimant to relocate to those IFA identified areas, such as, Calcutta or Delhi. I did not consider Himachal Pradesh because it’s controlled by the Congress Party.

[52]     Now, the Federal Court has mandated the Board or the Refugee Division to consider other factors under Section 96 – I’m talking about- not 97 – 96 imputed political opinion or political opinion.

[53]     The Court has identified also, medical and psychological reports that provide objective evidence and that I’m mandated to consider whether it would be unduly harsh to expect a claimant to move to potential IFA areas.

[54]     Now, I considered the medical evidence that was in Exhibit 5 in finding that it would not be reasonable in all his particular circumstances, the claimant’s particular circumstances, to relocate to these IFA areas. The medical evidence demonstrates, on a balance of probabilities, that the claimant suffered severe beatings and that it led to a series of events and, on a balance of probabilities, that led to his current medical state.

[55]     I see the claimant had to then report once to the police but at least reported five or six times. Every time he went, he underwent beatings. This had a cascading effect on his medical health.

[56]     I note that the claimant subsequently, in Canada, suffered from a [XXX] that incapacitated him to the point that at times, he could not even speak Punjabi, could not even write, although that’s recovered. He was severely restricted in the use of his right hand. It severely affected his ability to work, let alone as a [XXX], but let alone work and he has now, even in the hearing, had to wear a monitor around his neck that monitor’s his medical condition to detect any possible ongoing or future [XXX].

[57]     So, given the claimant’s very unique medical situation, that’s corroborated by at least three reports in Exhibit 5, I find, on a balance of probabilities, under Section 96 that the second prong of the test, that it would not be reasonable, in all his particular circumstances, to relocate to these IFA designated areas, given his medical condition as a [XXX] patient who is undergoing still, some after effects that could plausibly be linked to his mistreatment, harsh mistreatment, at the hands of Indian police in the state of Punjab, where he was detained, beaten and humiliated.

[58]     So, given in regards to this medical evidence, again, I’ve afforded the claimant the benefit of the doubt. I find that it is, on the balance of probabilities, that based on <inaudible> medical evidence, he did suffer severely and harshly because of mistreatment, both physically, psychologically and it affected his physiology as well and that, given his situation as a [XXX] patient right now and his inability to work now it would not be reasonable, in all his particular circumstances, to relocate to the IFA designated areas.

[59]     So, I said I examined all the originals. There was no discrepancies and I will return them now to Mr. [XXX].

[60]     So, in summary then, the claimant – I considered the claimant’s personal situation in deciding and determining the reasonableness of the IFA and I considered both his medical condition and his inability to earn a livelihood.

[61]     Therefore, I conclude that the claimant, Mr. [XXX], is a Convention refugee and, therefore, accept his claim.

[62]     Thank you very much.

[63]     The hearing is concluded.

——— REASONS CONCLUDED ———-

Categories
All Countries Colombia

2019 RLLR 67

Citation: 2019 RLLR 67
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: October 7, 2019
Panel: K. Fainbloom
Counsel for the claimant(s): Dariusz Wroblewski
Country: Colombia
RPD Number: TB8-15262
Associated RPD Number(s): TB8-15317, TB8-15261
ATIP Number: A-2020-01274
ATIP Pages: 000189-000191


DECISION

[1]       MEMBER: So, these are the reasons for the positive determination of the refugee claims of [XXX], her husband [XXX] and their daughters [XXX].

[2]       The claimants are citizens of Colombia and they claim refugee protection pursuant to Section 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

[3]       Their allegations are contained in the narrative of the principal claimant’s Basis of Claim form. I’m going to briefly summary those allegations.

[4]       The, the principal claimant is a [XXX]. She describes how she and her family have been affected by the civil war in Colombia. Her brother was killed in [XXX] of 2003. She met the other adult claimant and they were married in 2004. Their daughter was born in 2008. She graduated in 2011 and began to work and at the same time, she began to be involved in community work. Assisting people who have been displaced by the civil war.

[5]       So on weekends, she would work with members of the community action boards, assisting people displaced by the conflict who had come to Medellin. All was going well until her, her work came to the attention of the AGC. And on [XXX], 2017 she received a note from this organization at her home, threatening her and telling her that she must quit her work or she would pay the consequences.

[6]       After, she reported this to the appropriate authorities including her employer. On [XXX], she was threatened by a man on a, on a motorcycle. And fearing further problems, they decided to leave Medellin and they relocated to Bogotá.

[7]       However, on [XXX] in Bogotá she was again a, a, attacked and followed. So they again relocated. The family now relocated to Cack-, Cúcuta. I have trouble with that one. However, there again there were problems. On [XXX], the principal claimant’s husband received a telephone call from someone searching, searching for them. And indicating that they knew where they were.

[8]       So, fearing for the lives the, the claimants fled Colombia and made their way to Canada and made refugee claims upon arriving.

[9]       Having considered the totality of the evidence before me, I find the claimants to be Convention refugees. find this is due to their political, an imput-, an imputed political opinion. On the part of the agents of persecution in terms of the volunteer work the principal claimant was doing. As noted in the threatening letter received, her actions are seen as a, a political view of the, the AGC’s lost.

[10]     With respect to the claimants’ identities as nationals of Colombia, it’s established by the documents on file which include copies of their passports.

[11]     As to the credibility of the allegations, I have no concerns. Firstly, the claimants provided their evidence in a credible detailed and what appeared to be spontaneous fashion.

[12]     The responses given in an oral testimony were con-, consistent with what’s been stated in written form. The claimants were appropriately emotional in describing some of the difficulties they faced in Colombia. Their allegations are consistent with country condition reports as to what might happen in Colombia if you come to the attention of the wrong people.

[13]     And I would note the presence of a number of fairly strong corroborative documents. This includes letters corroborating the principal claimant’s volunteer work. The letter from the lawyer who assisted in her work and who was aware of the threatening calls she had received. There’s a copy of the threatening letter itself. There are a number of supportive letters including from the principal claimant’s sister who provided her and her family refuge in, in [XXX] of 2018. There’s also a letter from their friend who provided the shelter for this family while they were in the other city. There’s a letter from, there’s a letter from the retired police officer who describes the assistance and suggestions he made to the family.

[14]     There are some references in the letters to searches that are ongoing in Colombia for people looking for the principal claimant. And there’s also documents indicating how the principal claimant suffered from [XXX] as a result of, of having these threats uttered against her. Documents showing the, the, the counselling she received in Colombia and the counselling she’s receiving in, in Canada as well. And finally, there are the police reports.

[15]     And so, in consideration of these documents, in consideration of the quality of the testimony, I find on the balance of probabilities the allegations to be true.

[16]     Given that I accept the allegations to be true, the co-, country condition documents before me indicate there’s an objective basis to their, claimants’ fear of returning to Colombia.

[17]     The documents note the existence of threats, of violence and incidents of violence against human right defenders, social leaders, educators and, and so on. People such as the claimant who are providing assistance to those who have been devastated by the civil conflict. According to a recent U.N. report, there were 163 verified killings of social leaders and human rights defenders since November 2016.

[18]     So, in light of the country condition documentation, I find there’s an objective basis for their fear of returning. Given that they’ve approached the author-, the appropriate authorities on a number of occasions and not received adequate protection, I find the claimants have rebutted the presumption of adequate state protection. And I also see that as a result of their movements in various parts of the countries and the fact that each time they moved, they were still targeted and harassed.

[19]     There is no viable internal flight alternative available to the claimants. And I find that if they relocated to any part of Colombia they would suffer a serious possibility of persecution.

[20]     So, for all these reasons, I conclude the claimants are Convention refugees. And I therefore accept their claims.

———- REASONS CONCLUDED ———-