Language of Refugee Appeal Division failing to demonstrate it conducted independent assessment
Refugee claimant was citizen of Sri Lanka. Claimant alleged father and two uncles were either accused or suspected of having ties to militant organization fighting for independence of Sri Lanka’s northern region. Claimant claimed to be assaulted by authorities in 2011 and arrested and beaten in 2014. Claimant fled Sri Lanka in 2015 with help of smuggler, travelling through the United Arab Emirates, Ecuador, Brazil, Panama, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, and finally into United States (U.S.), where claimant claimed asylum. Claimant abandoned U.S. claim upon release from immigration-based detention and came to Canada. Claimant made claim for refugee status based on ethnicity, nationality, political opinion, and membership in particular social group. Refugee Protection Division (RPD) rejected claim, drawing negative credibility findings from claimant’s failure to claim refugee protection in Brazil or Ecuador, abandonment of U.S. claim, discrepancies in U.S. and Canadian applications, and profile that would not put claimant at risk upon return to Sri Lanka. Claimant’s appeal to Refugee Appeal Division was dismissed for reasons that mirrored those of RPD. Claimant brought application for judicial review. Application granted. Language of RAD decision failed to demonstrate that RAD conducted independent assessment of whether claimant was Convention refugee. While it was uncertain whether independent assessment of claim would have changed outcome of appeal before RAD, independent assessment was required.
Jeyaseelan v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) (2017), 2017 CarswellNat 724, 2017 FC 278, Alan S. Diner J. (F.C.).