Last Updated: Tuesday, 02 September 2014, 13:52 GMT

Decision MA4-04467 (Persuasive Decision, In Private)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) of Canada; Refugee Protection Division; Legal Services
Publication Date February 2005
Citation / Document Symbol MA4-04467
Cite as Decision MA4-04467 (Persuasive Decision, In Private), MA4-04467, Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada,  February 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680fab95b.html [accessed 3 September 2014]
Comments Date of hearing (in private): December 2004.

"Persuasive Decisions" are decisions that have been identified as being of persuasive value in developing the jurisprudence of the Board. They are decisions that decision-makers are encouraged to rely upon in the interests of consistency and collegiality.
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Claimant(s): "J"
Date(s) of Hearing: December XX, 2004
Place of Hearing: Montreal, Quebec
Date of Decision: February XX, 2005
Panel: Me Martial Guay
Claimant's Counsel: Me XXXXXXXXXX
Refugee Protection Officer: Maria De Andrade
Designated representative: n/a
Minister's Counsel: n/a


The claimant, "J", a citizen of Colombia born on XXX, 1969, is claiming to be a "Convention refugee" and a "person in need of protection" under sections 961 and 97(1)2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

The claimant alleges that because of his actual or imputed political opinion, he faces a serious possibility of persecution, a risk to his life, a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment or a danger of torture should he return to his country of citizenship, Colombia.

ALLEGATIONS

In support of his claim for refugee protection, the claimant alleged essentially the following facts in his answer to question 31 of the Personal Information Form (PIF).

THE FACTS

On February 15, 2004, the claimant received a telephone call demanding that he pay a sum of money to the organization. Spontaneously, the claimant stated that he had no money to pay to any organization. On April 30, 2004, he received another call. This time, the caller demanded the substantial sum of $4,000 US for the organization. On May 26, 2004, the claimant received a third call. Wanting to know whether the claimant had collected the $4,000, the caller told the claimant he would soon receive another call telling him where he was to deposit the money.

Alarmed by other calls he would receive on a regular basis, the claimant decided it was better for him to go into hiding. After careful reflection, he agreed with his wife that the only workable solution available to him was to leave the country for Canada, where he planned to seek refugee protection upon arrival.

So it was that on XXX, 2004,3 the claimant bought a plane ticket and fled Colombia on XXX, 2004.4 After a two-week stay with XXX in New York, the claimant arrived at the Canadian border on July 20, 2004,5 and claimed refugee protection at once.

DECISION

For the reasons stated below, the panel determines that the claimant is a "Convention refugee" because he has a well-founded fear of persecution in Colombia by reason of his actual or imputed political opinion.

ANALYSIS

Identity and citizenship

The claimant's identity and citizenship were established by his testimony and by reliable documents, to which the panel attaches probative value. It is sufficient to examine the Colombian passport issued to him by the Colombian authorities on XXX, 1999, which has all the characteristics of an authentic document.

Credibility

The claimant offered testimony that the panel found credible and therefore trustworthy. He answered questions without prevarication. The panel found no contradictions, implausibilities or inconsistencies relating to the main points of his claim for refugee protection.

It appears from the evidence that the claimant studied in the United States between 1995 and 1997.6 In XXX 2000, he obtained a new visa from the US authorities, allowing him to make three trips to the US between 2000 and 2002.7 Despite all the opportunities he had to leave Colombia and settle in the US, where he has family and friends,8 the claimant repeatedly returned to his country to take care of his family (married in 1993, he has one child) and the small XXX business9 he founded in XXX 2000. The panel notes in passing that the claimant declared upon his arrival in this country that he was a member of the XXX cooperative, a not for profit credit granting corporation. Needless to say, the attitude and behaviour of the claimant show his attachment to his country of citizenship and to the members of his immediate family – his wife and child – rather than stay in the US each time he had the opportunity to do so. This observation serves to reinforce the claimant's credibility.

The evidence showed that in the claimant's case, the agents of persecution were guerrillas who identified themselves as members of the FARC-EP10 They harassed him and threatened him with death as a military target if he did not cooperate by turning over the large sum of $4,000 US demanded from him.

Fearing that his persecutors might carry out their death threat, the claimant concluded that the only solution was to leave his country for Canada, since the government of Colombia was unable or unwilling to protect him, an allegation he made every effort to demonstrate in a clear and convincing manner.

Consideration of this claim for refugee protection requires the panel to determine whether or not state protection is available to persons who, like the claimant, have been targeted by one of the three illegal armed groups operating in Colombia: the FARC, the ELN and the AUC.11 In this case, the death threats to the claimant came from the FARC-EP.

In order to rule on this determinative issue, the panel considered the claimant's testimony, the RPO's comments and those of counsel for the claimant, as well as the documentary evidence in its entirety, particularly that concerning illegal armed groups and state institutions, including the military, police and judicial authorities, the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the Ombudsman and non-governmental organizations to which victims may have recourse. The panel also considered whether or not an internal flight alternative was available to the claimant.

The question of state protection must be examined in the light of the principles established by higher courts, which the panel will briefly recall.

It is well established that, "absent a situation of complete breakdown of state apparatus,12 it should be assumed that the state is capable of protecting its citizens."13 A claimant may rebut this presumption by "clear and convincing" evidence of the state's inability to protect.

"For example, a claimant might advance testimony of similarly situated individuals let down by the state protection arrangement or the claimant's testimony of past personal incidents in which state protection did not materialize."14

Moreover, the jurisprudence has also held that "a claimant is required to approach his or her state for protection in situations in which protection might reasonably be forthcoming."15 In that regard, a claimant must demonstrate to the panel that he or she took all reasonable action, given the overall situation prevailing in his or her country of citizenship, and provide evidence of the action actually taken.16

"When the state in question is a democratic state, the claimant must do more than simply show that he went to see some members of the police force and that his or her efforts were unsuccessful. The more democratic the state's institutions, the more the claimant must have done to exhaust all the courses of action open to him or her."17

It should be pointed out, however, that the claimant is not obliged to go beyond what would be objectively unreasonable in seeking the protection of his or her own country. The claimant is not required to go so far as to risk his or her life or compromise his or her security by pursuing courses of action that would be pointless in the circumstances.18

As to the level of protection available in a given country, it is established in the jurisprudence that "No government that makes any claim to democratic values or protection of human rights can guarantee the protection of all of its citizens at all times."19 Also in Villafranca, "where a state is in effective control of its territory, has military, police and civil authority in place, and makes serious efforts to protect its citizens from terrorist activities, the mere fact that it is not always successful at doing so will not be enough to justify a claim that the victims of terrorism are unable to avail themselves of such protection." "Where, however, the state is so weak, and its control over all or part of its territory so tenuous as to make it a government in name only, a claimant may justly claim to be unable to avail himself of its protection.20

It is also well established that state protection does not have to be perfect. The standard of protection is one of adequacy. Incidentally, evidence that a state cannot provide protection that, while not necessarily perfect, is adequate, does not constitute "clear and convincing" evidence of the inability of the state to protect its citizens.21

Illegal armed groups

A review of the documentary evidence relating to Colombia, particularly that concerning the three illegal armed groups – the FARC,22 the AUC23 and the ELN24 - which both the US25 and Canadian26 governments consider "terrorist groups," compels the following conclusion.

All three terrorist groups regularly commit extortions and human rights violations of every sort. The violence and brutality of all three are not in any doubt.27 Disappearances28, economic sabotage and political murders of civilians29 are commonplace. Extortion of property and services serves to finance their activities and the realization of their political aim:30 the destabilization of the government in office. The three groups were together responsible for more than 2,200 kidnappings and hostage-takings31 in 2002.

These three terrorist groups have access to increasingly sophisticated resources and rely on an intelligence infrastructure that some authorities consider superior to that of the armed forces, which were slow to adapt to the struggle against a domestic enemy.32 There is no doubt that all these organizations have the capacity to launch operations throughout the territory of Colombia,33 which takes in some 1,100 municipalities.34 Although one source states that the ELN's ability to strike is restricted to certain specific regions of the country (mainly in the north),35 others feel that the ELN, like the FARC and the AUC, have a nationwide attack capacity.36 According to the documentary evidence, the FARC and the ELN work together.37 The two organizations, which recently embarked on a coordinated campaign to destabilize the municipal governments,38 share a broad intelligence network.39

The FARC's ambition is to take power by armed force.40 In a deliberate and strategic way, the FARC's leaders recently decided to urbanize the conflict, taking as their inspiration the expertise and tactics of European guerrilla movements. The FARC alone can call on the support of 12,000 urban militias, with their usual armed fighters (who number 16,500),41 spread over some 60 fronts and concentrated in such major cities as Bogota, Medellin and Cali, as well as average-sized towns such as Bucaramanga, Villavicencio, Cocouta Bereira, Santa Marta, Cartagena and Barranquilla.42

The ELN has about 4,000 men spread over some 25 fronts and urban cells (people's militias),43 and continues to hold victims for ransom, detonate bombs in urban centres, and paralyse entire regions.44

As to the AUC, despite the ceasefire of December 1, 2002 and the peace agreement45 concluded on July 15, 2003 between the Uribe government and nine blocs representing some 13,000 paramilitaries, other blocs representing 7,000 paramilitaries still refuse to endorse the agreement, and are continuing to consolidate and extend their control over large regions of the country.46 Moreover, one expert estimates that only a third of the 13,000 paramilitaries who signed the peace agreement, the application of which is beset by serious difficulties,47 will actually give up the armed struggle.48 According to Amnesty International, paramilitaries operating with the complicity of the security forces have been responsible for the vast majority of the disappearances and murders of civilians.49 According to the government's chief negotiator of the peace agreements, in 2003 the paramilitaries committed no fewer than 16 massacres, 362 murders and some 180 kidnappings.50 Present in 40% of the municipalities, the AUC are now central participants in the armed conflict ravaging Colombia.

As to the victims, it can be said that because of their personal profiles, some people are more vulnerable and consequently more at risk than others. As a result, they may be targeted by one or another of the three terrorist groups. This is particularly true of government employees, businesspeople, journalists, lawyers, judges, medical staff, trade unionists, leftist teachers, mayors and municipal councillors, police officers, military personnel on leave, religious leaders and their followers, and defenders of human rights.51 Needless to say, any citizen suspected of sympathizing or collaborating with, or in any way supporting, the enemy or who refuses to bow to the demands of any of these three groups becomes a target as soon as his or her action or refusal is seen as a political opinion opposed to theirs.

Control of territory

The geography of Colombia, which has been described as a jigsaw puzzle of a country, favours the establishment of independent fiefdoms, and encourages the splintering of movements dominated by guerrilla leaders and drug lords.52

The guerrillas and paramilitaries each have control of rural areas of Colombia, which they share among themselves. Their control extends even to medium- and high-density urban areas. Some observers feel that the main challenge facing the government is to win back its territory; it must regain a foothold in regions where for many years, "security" has been provided by the guerrillas and social spending, by drug lords.53

The territorial situation in Colombia has spawned a range of expressions that confirm the existence of a territorial sovereignty shared between the government and the three illegal armed groups with which it has negotiated and, in some cases, conceded or established disengagement zones,56 demilitarized zones,57 main action zones,58 special activity zones, zones traditionally occupied by the FARC's leaders,59 and more recently, expressions like "rehabilitation and consolidation zones,"60 which have been ruled unconstitutional by the Colombian Supreme Court.

Infiltration of military, police, judicial and civil authorities

Observers are unanimous in recognizing that the FARC and the ELN have acted to infiltrate government agencies,61 including a portion of the Courts and the executive branch. This infiltration extends to the security forces, including the army, and there are good reasons for this:  it is easier and cheaper to bring down an aircraft with a pair of snips than with a missile.62 It seems that the infiltration is not limited to the junior ranks, but has reached the officer corps in the police and the army. Lawyers in the attorney general's office have been dismissed for alleged links to illegal armed groups. It also seems that these groups receive discreet support from leftist teachers, health care workers and even employees of the Courts. The infiltration has long since overtaken the municipal administrations and institutions and the banks — for obvious reasons (money laundering)63 — the unions, street vendor organizations64 and the universities, including the National University in Bogotá. Even the witness protection program of the attorney general's office has been infiltrated by paramilitaries.65

STATE PROTECTION IN COLOMBIA

More than that of any other South American country, the history of Colombia is marked by violence.66 To some extent, it results from the determination of the country's various governments to deny any political dimension to guerrilla groups, condemning them to large-scale banditry.67 They can thus be hunted down like common criminals.68 With fairly consistent "political" and "criminal" shadings, the contemporary picture of Colombian insurgency offers examples of every stripe.69 While it is true that the policy is to designate the enemy, whether the FARC, the ELN or the AUC, there is no denying the enduring political motivation of these groups. The scale of their activities compelled the government of Alvaro Uribe to declare on August 11, 2002, that the country was in [Translation] "a state of internal shock".

The initiatives related to the State of Emergency and Decree 2002, which conferred the powers of the judicial police on the armed forces, were either declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (November 25, 2002), blocked by Congress (December 2002), or denounced by national and international organizations.70 As for the expression "state of internal shock", is this not one step short of "civil war," a label that some authorities71 do not hesitate to apply to the social and political situation in Colombia? Worse, it seems that the proclamation of a state of emergency and the adoption of measures designed to regain control of the situation had the effect, instead, of intensifying the confrontations between the parties on the ground, which has apparently led to a substantial deterioration in the human rights situation, according to Amnesty International,72 which, in its report for 2002, notes that [Translation] "[t]his cycle of political violence was exacerbated by the security policies of the new government of Alvaro Uribe Velez which took office in August [2002]".73

This portrait of the social and political situation in Colombia, combined with the admissions of the Uribe government, which declared the country to be in a "state of internal shock," suggests that we are not very far removed from civil war which, needless to say, proportionally reduces the obligation of refugee protection claimants to exhaust all the courses of action open to them in seeking state protection.74

The Uribe government has admittedly shown an unequivocal political will to put in place measures75 designed to make people more secure. However, while it asserts that it has improved security conditions in Colombia,76 it seems equally clear that the Colombian government, while it is equipped with agencies responsible for protecting its citizens, is unable to ensure security in all regions77 and all sectors of society. Even in those areas where the government has strengthened the security forces—the rehabilitation and consolidation zones—serious problems of governance persist.78 Despite the elite anti-kidnapping units formed by the government, better known as "Gaula," political kidnappings and kidnappings for ransom nevertheless totalled more than 2,700 according to Amnesty International,79 including at least 1,500 carried out by guerrilla groups or paramilitary units. The Free Country Foundation puts the figure at 2,200 for 2003.80 Domestic strife was reportedly responsible for the deaths of 3,000 to 4,000 civilians in 2003.81

With respect to its law-enforcement organizations, Colombia can claim to be a democratic country in which the independence of the judiciary is generally respected.82 However, the suborning and intimidation of judges, prosecutors and witnesses remains a serious problem.83 At best, the judicial system may be described as inefficient and extremely overloaded.84 The fight against lawlessness remains the greatest challenge facing the government, one on which its credibility with respect to human rights depends. The situation is likely not unrelated to the fact that the people of Colombia consider the Catholic Church and the media more effective85 than the police, who have a problem of corruption within their ranks.

In the panel's opinion, the concept of "adequate" protection implies a review of the bottom line in the balance sheet of the activities and results of each of the parties that are confronting each other in the field. In this case, the Colombian government posts a negative score in terms of security and protection for people targeted by the FARC, the ELN or the AUC. The panel finds that the documentary evidence indicates that the Colombian government does not control all of its territory; its human and material resources are insufficient; its judicial system is overloaded and has a backlog that is said to be insurmountable; the measures taken to increase security lead either to illegality or to abuse by those charged with their execution; and the government apparatus is infiltrated by the three terrorist groups that are thus successful in frustrating the efforts and initiatives of the government. Opposed by organizations with financial and logistical resources that enable them to fund their military and intelligence activities, and with human and material resources86 that are on a par with those of the army, which is in many cases under-equipped,87 and whose pay for their members is similar to that of the army, plus some generous bonuses,88 the government of Colombia is not able to satisfactorily discharge its obligation to provide adequate protection to its citizens when they are targeted by organizations like the FARC, the ELN or the AUC.

As Tremblay-Lamer J. wrote in Bobrik:89 "A state must actually provide protection, and not merely indicate a willingness to help."

In the instant case, the claimant did not seek protection from the Colombian government, in which he has no trust, since he says it is an organization that has been infiltrated and whose members are corrupt. On the advice of a lawyer, the claimant chose to arrange the publication on XXX, 2004 of an article with his photograph in a Colombian newspaper90 to inform the general public that he had fled the country because of the threats he had received from the FARC-EP.

The panel is of the opinion that in this case, the claimant has offered a reasonable excuse, given the geopolitical situation in Colombia, beset as it is by a number of armed groups on several fronts, and the reasons he cites are confirmed by the documentary evidence.

The panel is of the opinion that in this case, the claimant has provided clear and convincing evidence of the inability of the Colombian government to protect him.

IFA – Internal flight alternative

The panel believes that no internal flight alternative is available to the claimant, for the reasons set out below.

According to Jane's Intelligence Review,91 despite their offensive and some tactical successes against the FARC, it can be said that the government's security forces have so far failed to achieve long-term or strategic victories, or to capture any senior FARC commanders who, like their ELN and AUC counterparts, retain the ability to conduct offensive operations throughout Colombia.

This combined with the fact that these three illegal armed groups have a research and intelligence capability that enables them, when it serves their purpose, to identify,92 pursue and locate93 their victims as needed, there can be no question of a reasonable or practical internal flight alternative for a person such as the claimant. A life in hiding or of concealment elsewhere in his country is a solution that falls short of the criteria for an internal flight alternative.

According to an adjunct professor in the Department of Government at Georgetown University, who has written extensively on Colombian politics, both the guerrillas and the paramilitary groups often employ highly sophisticated databases and computer networks. An individual who is threatened in one area of the country will not be notably safer by relocating to another. Depending on the nature and reasons for the threat, the victims can be pursued relentlessly. There are countless stories of men and women receiving threats in Bogotá or Medellin after relocating from another area and attempting to live anonymously in the big city. Many have been killed after seeking refuge in another part of the country. There are also cases of people leaving the country for a period of months or years, and then being killed after returning. Memories are long and data is systematically recorded and analysed (AI-USA June 30, 2003).

This opinion is shared by another professor in the College of Law at Georgetown, who takes a similar view, stating:

"In the last several years it has become increasingly difficult for an individual to escape the long arm of the guerrilla and para [paramilitary] groups. ... They are mobilized and enjoy a network of contacts throughout the country. ... Remember, too, that Colombia is one of the most class-conscious and rigidly stratified countries in the western world. It is virtually impossible to relocate from one part of the country to another without someone taking note. Regional identity is very important. Skin color, colloquial mannerisms and customs, speech inflections and social orientation to the external environment all work to make it difficult for a Colombian individual to hide his or her roots or social origins. ..."

"Many of the rural poor have nowhere to go to flee the war than to the comunas of the major cities. There they think they are safe, not understanding the extent to which the guerrillas and paras have infiltrated and controlled the urban peasant communities. Neighbors inform on them and their locations are exposed. Family members left behind are harassed, intimidated, tortured, and killed in an effort to reveal the location of those being sought. For the middle and upper classes of individuals who have been victimized by extortion and intimidation at the hands of the guerrillas, it is even more difficult to escape. The guerrillas have sophisticated intelligence-gathering capabilities. They can track one's physical whereabouts through the use of taxi drivers, domestic servants, airlines and travel agencies. They have access to private bank records and credit card activities, and they can track someone down based on their paper trail. They can eavesdrop on family members to determine where a target is located, or bribe acquaintances for information. ... Rural peasants stick out in a crowd, as do any individuals who are not native to an area. ... Moreover, the system is so rife with corruption that it is not difficult to buy information and bribe government officials to inform on someone's whereabouts. ..."

"The bottom line is that if the guerrillas and paras [want] to find you, chances are very good that they can do so."94

While special circumstances or factors can favour the existence of an internal flight alternative for a refugee protection claimant, the panel is of the opinion that none of these applies in this case, and the panel accordingly concludes that no internal flight alternative is available to the claimant.

Having considered all the testimony and the documentary evidence, and the particular circumstances of the case, the panel concludes that should the claimant return to Colombia, there is a serious possibility that he would be subjected to persecution by reason of his political opinion.

The panel accordingly determines that the claimant is a "Convention refugee" under section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

For all these reasons, the panel allows his claim for refugee protection.

Martial Guay [signature]
Me Martial Guay

February XX, 2005
Date

Endnotes

  1. "96. A Convention refugee is a person who, by reason of a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion,

    (a) is outside each of their countries of nationality and is unable or, by reason of that fear, unwilling to avail themself of the protection of each of those countries; or

    (b) not having a country of nationality, is outside the country of their former habitual residence and is unable or, by reason of that fear, unwilling to return to that country."

  2. "97. (1) A person in need of protection is a person in Canada whose removal to their country or countries of nationality or, if they do not have a country of nationality, their country of former habitual residence, would subject them personally

    (a) to a danger, believed on substantial grounds to exist, of torture within the meaning of Article 1 of the Convention Against Torture; or

    (b) to a risk to their life or to a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment if

    (i) the person is unable or, because of that risk, unwilling to avail themself of the protection of that country,

    (ii) the risk would be faced by the person in every part of that country and is not faced generally by other individuals in or from that country,

    (iii) the risk is not inherent or incidental to lawful sanctions, unless imposed in disregard of accepted international standards, and

    (iv) the risk is not caused by the inability of that country to provide adequate health or medical care."

  3. See Exhibit A-2 – Immigration documents seized upon arrival in Canada and port-of-entry notes (interview report).
  4. Idem.
  5. Supra, note 3.
  6. See Exhibit P-2, Certificate and notes issued by XXX.
  7. See Exhibit A-2 - Immigration documents, stamp inside the claimant's Colombian passport.
  8. See Interview Report, Exhibit A-2, Immigration documents.
  9. See Exhibit P-5 – Evidence of business transactions, Exhibits P-6 and P-7 – Letter and business card from XXX, Attorney.
  10. See Exhibit P-3, Leaflet dated July 14, 2004, received by the claimant's brother on July 24, 2004.
  11. In Canada, a terrorist group is a "listed entity" under the Anti-terrorism Act, which empowers the government to establish a list of entities on the recommendation of the Solicitor General of Canada to the Governor in Council. Under the Criminal Code, the Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the Solicitor General of Canada, establish a list of entities and place an entity thereupon if satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the entity has knowingly carried out, attempted to carry out, participated in or facilitated a terrorist activity, or the entity is knowingly acting on behalf of, at the direction of or in association with an entity that has knowingly carried out, attempted to carry out, participated in or facilitated a terrorist activity.

    The following three entities have accordingly been placed on the list as terrorist groups:

    Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) (also known among other names as Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo, FARC-EP), National Finance Commission (Comisión Nacional de Finanzas) and Coordinadora Nacional Guerrillera Simon Bolivar (CNGSB)).

    Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) also known among other names as Autodéfenses unies de Colombie and United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia).

    Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) (also known among other names as National Liberation Army and the Army of National Liberation).

  12. Zalzali, Ahmad Ali v. M.E.I. (F.C.A., no. A-382-90), Hugessen, MacGuigan, Décary, April 30, 1991. Reported: Zalzali v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration), [1991] 3 F.C. 605 (F.C.A.); (1991), 14 Imm. L.R. (2d) 81; 126 N.R. 126 (F.C.A.).
  13. Canada (Attorney General of Canada) v. Ward, [1993] 2 S.C.R. 689, p. 725.
  14. Ibidem, p. 724.
  15. Supra, note 13.
  16. Before seeking the international protection that is supplementary to it (ref. to Ward v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) (1996), 37 Imm. L.R. (2d) 102 (F.C.T.D.); Ward, Patrick Francis v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-15-97), Joyal, January 24, 1997.
  17. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) v. Kadenko (1996), 143 D.L.R. (4th) 532 (F.C.A.), p. 3.
  18. D'Mello, Carol Shalini v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-1236-97), Gibson, January 22, 1998.
  19. Villafranca: M.E.I. v. Villafranca, Ignacio (F.C.A., no. A-69-90), Marceau, Hugessen, Décary, December 18, 1992. Reported: Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration) v. Villafranca (1992), 18 Imm. L.R. (2d) 130 (F.C.A.), p. 4.
  20. Idem.
  21. Supra note 12, page 615.
  22. The FARC were formed between 1964 and 1966, in the extension of the Marquetalia self-defence zone. They professed allegiance to the Communist Party and the Soviet bloc, and set up fronts in much of the country.
  23. See pages 129 and 130 of Document 3.2, Mondes Rebelles [rebel worlds], Exhibit A-1: Index to the Montreal Regional Binder of September 20, 2004. The paramilitary groups became heavily involved in the Colombian conflict in the latter half of the 1980s. Having become totally independent of the armed forces by funding their own operations in the same way as their opponents, the AUC no longer hesitate to confront their erstwhile sponsors in the field, although some complicity persists among the troops.

    To the extent that they claim, unlike the extreme left, to support rather than oppose the government's activities in the zones where it is powerless to act, the AUC, like their predecessors in 1994, are again demanding political status, which continues to be stubbornly denied them because of the numerous abuses they engage in.

  24. Established in 1964, at the instigation of young pro-Castro students; see p. 106 of Document 3.2 (Mondes Rebelles), Exhibit A-1.
  25. See Report 4.6 - Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2003, United States Department of State, February 2004, p. 1.
  26. Supra, note 11.
  27. See page 125 of Document 3.2 (Monde Rebelles), Exhibit A-1.
  28. Totalling 600 disappearances in 2003, according to the source: Report 4.2 (a) (Amnesty International 2004 Report, Montreal Regional Binder, September 2004), page 1.
  29. Three thousand (3,000) civilians were killed for political reasons, according to Report 4.2 (a) of June 30, 2004, page 1, Exhibit A-1.
  30. With respect to the FARC, some observers state that their essential goal is to move beyond the status of political spokespersons with the power that they already have, and become belligerents, which would de facto guarantee them a share in sovereignty over Colombia, see Document 3.2, A-1, page 116. The same observers stress that the AUC vehemently demand political/apolitical status, which the government denies them, although there is doubt as to for how much longer; see Document 3.2, A-1, page 118.
  31. Another source states that these three groups are responsible for 72% of the kidnappings committed in Colombia. See Response to Information Request COL3004.ZMI, Document 8.2, Exhibit A-1, page 3.
  32. See p. 111 of Document 3.2, Mondes Rebelles, Exhibit A-1: Index to the Montreal Regional Binder of September 20, 2004.
  33. See Responses to Information Requests COL41715.EF, Document 8.3, A-1, page 7 and COL41770.EF, Document 8.5, A-1, page 1.
  34. See Document 8.3, Exhibit A-1 – Response to Information Request, page 1.
  35. Supra, note 32, page 125.
  36. See Document 8.3, A-1, page 7 and Document 8.5, A-1, page 2.
  37. See page 2, Document 8.5 – Response to Information Request COL41770.EF, Exhibit A-1.
  38. Supra, note 25, p. 2.
  39. Supra, note 37, page 3.
  40. Supra, note 32, page 122.
  41. Idem.
  42. See Document 8.2, Exhibit A-1.
  43. For a complete list of modes of traditional action, see Document 3.2, A-1, page 123.
  44. Supra, note 34, pages 7 and 8.
  45. All commentators acknowledge that the peace agreement will be weakened and almost impossible to implement because of major issues relating to human rights violations committed by these groups. The Uribe government is under pressure nationally and internationally, which will create serious problems with the implementation of the peace agreement; moreover, there are no data on the social reintegration of the paramilitaries who belonged to blocs that endorsed the peace agreement.
  46. See page 1, Document 8.2, A-1 and page 8, Document 8.3, A-1.
  47. See Exhibit A-3 – Colombie : Protection offerte par l'État [Colombia: protection offered by the state] (January 2003 – March 2004), May 2004, section 2.2.
  48. See page 2, Document 8.2, Exhibit A-1.
  49. Again according to the Amnesty International 2004 Report, page 3 (Report 4.2 (a)), the investigation carried out in Colombia by the UNHCHR attributed responsibility to the guerrilla and paramilitary forces, while stressing the share of responsibility borne by the state, which did nothing to prevent the arrival of the paramilitaries on May 2, 2002 in the Department of Choco, which led to confrontations between the FARC and the paramilitaries, resulting in the deaths of 119 civilians.
  50. Supra, note 47.
  51. For a complete list of persons and the number of victims among these groups, see Document 8.3, A-1, pages 5 and 6; section 4.2, Exhibit A-3; and the Amnesty International 2004 Report, Report 4.2 (a), A-1, page 4.
  52. Supra, note 32, 119.
  53. Supra, note 32, 112.
  54. Territory covering 42,000 km2 (the size of Switzerland) turned over to the FARC in 1999, and used as their rear base.
  55. See Document 3.2, A-1, page 116: a symbol of their status as a state within a state.
  56. Territory covering 5,000 km2, ceded by the government to the ELN, but which it subsequently took back because of the mobilization of the population and the three municipalities concerned.
  57. See Document 3.1, The Europa World Yearbook 2003, Exhibit A-1, pages 1192 and 1193.
  58. Supra, note 32, page 120.
  59. Supra, note 32, page 118.
  60. See page 1 of Report 4.2 (a) – Amnesty International 2004 Report, Exhibit A-1.
  61. See Response to Information Request COL41717.EF, Document 8.4, Exhibit A-1.
  62. See pages 5 and 7 of Response to Information Request, Document 8.2, A-1.
  63. Ibidem, pages 4, 5 and 6.
  64. See page 6 of Response to Information Request, Document 8.2, A-1.
  65. Supra, note 47, section 3.2 in fine.
  66. According to commentators Jean-Marc Balencia and Arnaud de la Grange (Document 3.2, page 103), in the course of a century, Colombia has suffered over 60 years of armed insurrection: war seems to be the natural way of resolving conflict between the two great political families, the liberals and the conservatives.
  67. Idem.
  68. Supra, note 32.
  69. Supra, note 57.
  70. See pages 4 and 5 of Report 4.2 (a), Amnesty International 2004 Report, Exhibit A-1.
  71. Supra, note 32, page 117.
  72. In its report of June 30, 2003, Amnesty International states that 600 people disappeared and more than 3,000 civilians were killed for political reasons. Some 2,700 people were kidnapped, including at least 1,500 by the FARC, the ELN and the UAC (Report 4.2 (a), Exhibit A-1, page 1).
  73. See Report 4.2 (a) (Amnesty International), Exhibit A-1, page 1.
  74. Supra, note 19.
  75. For a list of measures and initiatives taken by the government under the democratic security and defence policy designed to consolidate state control over the territory and protect the population, see Exhibit A-3, section 2.1.
  76. See Exhibit A-1: Index to the Montreal Regional Binder of September 20, 2004, Report 4.5 (Colombia: President Uribe's Democratic Security Policy – 13 November 2003).
  77. Supra, note 47, section 3.2.
  78. See Document 8.4, A-1 - Response to Information Request COL41717.EF, July 2003.
  79. See Report 4.2 (a) – Amnesty International, page 1.
  80. Supra, note 25, page 8.
  81. Supra, note 25.
  82. Idem.
  83. Supra, note 25.
  84. In October 2003, the judicial system reported a backlog of 102,000 cases; see Exhibit A-3, section 3.2.
  85. Supra, note 47, section 3.1.
  86. See pages 3 and 5 of Document 8.2, A-1 concerning large-scale laundering operations carried out by terrorist groups; see also pages 124 and 125 of Document 3.2, A-1, on funding sources.
  87. With respect to transmissions, the guerrillas are said to have one set for every three men, as against one for ten in the army;  see Document 3.2, Exhibit A-1, page 120.
  88. Supra, note 32, page 121.
  89. Bobrik, Iouri v. M.C.I. (F.C.T.D., no. IMM-5519-93), Tremblay-Lamer, September 16, 1994, page 4.
  90. See Exhibit P-4 – Press article.
  91. Supra, note 47, section 2.2.
  92. See Document 8.2, A-1, page 4. The ability of the FARC to find former members who deserted the group under the reintegration program set up by the Uribe government, which they have since infiltrated, is acknowledged.
  93. See paragraphs 74 and 75, Report 4.3, Exhibit A-1. It is moreover recognized that the illegal armed groups have established efficient communication networks that enable them to find a targeted person wherever he or she goes in Colombia.
  94. See Response to Information Request COL41770.EF, July 2003.
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