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Refugee Appeal Division

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Canadian Council for Refugees
6839 Drolet #302
Montréal,QC, H2S 2T1
Tel: (514) 277-7223
Fax: (514) 277-1447

Conseil canadien pour les réfugiés

Canadian Council for Refugees

Refugee Appeal Division


Impact of non-implementation on refugees

The following are some examples of people whom Canada’s refugee determination system failed.

Ms Q

Ms Q., from Iran, was arrested and detained for two months after being accused of being a heretic because of comments she made to a cleric.  While in detention she was tortured.  She was able to escape and made her way to Canada.  At her refugee hearing, Ms Q was unable to answer even basic questions about what had happened to her as a result of the trauma she had been through.  The Immigration and Refugee Board concluded that Ms Q. was not credible because of the numerous inconsistencies and gaps in her evidence.  Although Ms Q. told the Board that she had scars on her body from the torture, her testimony was rejected because she had not provided a medical report.

In the course of the hearing, Ms Q’s counsel realized she was badly traumatized and asked the Board for time to obtain a psychological report.  The report confirmed that Ms Q. was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression.  However, the Board Member rejected the psychological report, saying that it was based on Ms Q.’s statements and the Member had already concluded that Ms Q. was not credible.

The rejection of the psychological report on this basis was wrong in law.  Nevertheless, the Federal Court denied leave for judicial review, as usual without reasons.

Ms Q. then applied for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment.  This was also rejected, despite the fact that she submitted a medical report which confirming numerous unusual, large scars on her body.  The doctor also documented a significant depression in her skull consistent with a blow from a blunt instrument.  She also filed a second psychological report, which confirmed that Ms Q. was suffering from PTSD and that her account of torture was credible from a psychological point of view.  The PRRA officer dismissed the psychological and medical reports as being “not probative of risk Ms Q. would face in Iran.” 

Despite expert evidence that she was severely tortured, Ms Q. is at imminent risk of removal from Canada.

Enrique Falcon Rios

In December 2004, the UN Committee against Torture rendered a major decision regarding Canada in the case of Falcon Rios vs. Canada.

According to Mr Falcon Ríos, soldiers in his native Mexico took him and his family to a military camp for questioning. His mother and sister were raped. The soldiers then tortured his father, striking him on the temple with a pistol butt until he lost consciousness. Mr Falcon Rios’ hands were tied behind his back and he was hit in the stomach; a hood was put over his head to induce a feeling of asphyxiation. He was questioned about where his uncle was hiding; since he could not reply, they stripped him and cut him near the genitals with a knife; they then tied his testicles and yanked them while continuing to question him. Lastly, they dipped his head in a tub filled with excrement in an attempt to obtain the information they wanted.

After his release, Mr Falcon Rios came to Canada where he made a refugee claim.  The claim was rejected on the grounds that his account was found not credible.  The Federal Court denied his application for judicial review.

Mr Falcon Rios then turned to the Committee against Torture, which concluded that removing him to Mexico would be a violation of Canada’s obligation under the Convention against Torture not to return anyone to torture.  They decided that he was at risk of being arrested and tortured again if he were returned to Mexico.  Against the Canadian decision that his account was not credible, they emphasized that he had submitted uncontested medical and psychological reports that corroborated his account, and that his alleged “vagueness” was consistent with someone who had been traumatized by torture.

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