[Did She and Family Obtain Citizenship Status by Fraud???]
I swore an oath of office at Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board(IRB) in 2001 to maintain confidentiality concerning “cases” that I had access and knowledge about.
I specialized in adjudication of refugee claims from the Middle East including Afghanistan and Iran. To my recollection, I did not adjudicate Ms. Monsef or her family’s case. I suspect that this claim was processed in the Montreal branch of the IRB however; the same rules and objective evidence were used throughout the IRB.
I would say (modestly) that (a) I have expert knowledge of human rights records prevailing in both Iran and Afghanistan around the time that the Monsef’s arrived in Canada and established claims under Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and (b) good working knowledge of the refugee adjudication process. As such, I can say that I still understand the weight typically attached to evidence on “claims” from each of those countries around the time of the Monsef claims.
Maryam Monsef is Alleged to have said,
That “it isn’t a big deal” whichever country her mother claimed to originate from. I suggest that it makes a huge difference and that it diminishes credibility in her refugee claim.
Simply originating from any given country does not establish as “well founded fear of persecution” for religious or any of the areas specified in Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). For example, Taliban participants come from Afghanistan but (at that time) would be hard pressed to present a credible case of religious persecution in Afghanistan. They, in fact were the perpetrators.
Objective evidence is used by the IRB to consider rather one’s country of origin is willing and able to provide state protection. If that can be shown as absent, certainly Canada has shown a willingness to accept claims. However, the second prong of the test in all refugee cases involves a subjective reason why the claimant him/herself would have well-founded fear for such things as religious persecution. Testing evidence in that area relies heavily on credibility.
Experience tells me that a great deal turns on the credibility of the claimant who must establish “on a balance of probability” that his/her allegations of persecution are “well founded”. It is never enough to establish that events in his/her life “possibly” took place The test is to establish “on a balance of probabilities” that persecution took place.
Thus, country of origin is a single component of all Refugee claims.
Iran or Afghanistan?
Neither one of those two countries are known for good human rights practice. But that alone is not reason to accept a claim from anyone from either of those two countries. There is (never has been) any viable evidence that everyone from either Iran or Afghanistan is the victim of persecution. It is simply not the case as borne out by volume of documentary evidence that is used to adjudicate each case.
Not the least of those volumes of documentary evidence are reports from NGO’s such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. As well, considerable weight is attached to the United States Department of State, “Country Reports”.
Afghanistan is 80% Sunni Muslim while Iran is almost 95% Shia. Sunni’s are (were) regularly persecuted in the “post Shah era Shia Iran” (since 1979). While the Sunni based Taliban and various other terror groups regularly targeted Shia and other religious minorities in Afghanistan.
It is of concern (to me) that a Shia Muslim mother would collect her children from Iran and relocate then into a well-known Taliban (Sunni) strong hold such as Heart ( Afghanistan). It is equally improbable that (if she was Sunni) that the family could have lived without problems in Iran from the time of the revolution until finally moving to Afghanistan.
The facts are that at the time that the Monsef family claim was made at the IRB, a higher percentage of Afghan claims were successful than clams form Iran. The successful Iranian cases in the late 1990’s were predominantly victims of an unsuccessful student revolt that took place in Tehran in 1999. Thousands were rounded up, hundreds killed and many tortured by the Iranian authorities. Those claimants arriving in Canada and making “refugee” claims did so based on a “well-founded fear” of persecution based upon “political beliefs”. Predominantly, the successful claimants were young university students.
What Ms Monsef Ought to Do?
Since she is now admitting that a fraud ( or, cqandy-cost it: an error took place, the right thing to do is to authorize the release of the entire family refugee file form the IRB. It will contain signed Personal Information Forms (PIFs) outlining the basis of their claims as well as country of origin identity document.
The penalty for obtaining Canadian Citizenship by means of false information does not only preclude Ms. Mosef form serving in political office but also may result in revoking her Canadian citizenship.
It’s time to reveal the entire truth from her file. That can ONLY come from a fulsome file review and not piece meal “talking points’ being issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
She would be wise to see to it that the entire file is now disclosed. Where it can be established that a refugee obtained a positive decision from Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board, by way of misleading evidence or misstatement of alleged facts, that decision to grant refugee status can be overturned and status revoked by way of a process known as an order to “Vacate”.
Section 109 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act states, ““109 (1) The Refugee Protection Division may, on application by the Minister, vacate a decision to allow a claim for refugee protection, if it finds that the decision was obtained as a result of directly or indirectly misrepresenting or withholding material facts relating to a relevant matter.”
There is no doubt (in my view) that the Personal Information From (PIF)would have included a sworn “narrative” setting out alleged incidents of persecution claimed to have befallen her and her family in one of the two countries.
Certainly, the re-availment of residence in Afghanistan from Iran is most troubling to her claim. To offer an analogy, it is much like finding a burning house and deciding to enter that house amid the flames and then attempting to later persuade the fire department that there was no need to fear the fire.
Monsef’s statement that lying in order to get one’s way in court is “no big deal” is a sad comment to hear from a Cabinet Minister who has sworn an oath of office to uphold the law. It is laughable to hear Monsef trivialize Canada’s laws as being contrary to her culture.
Postscript: What a tangled web they weave. Observations on Liberal reaction . (1) blame it on an unfair law deflecting from the fact of the matter. The suspected fraud is much more than merely an inadvertent error as to her confusion about citizenship. That original application for Refugee consideration in Canada was outlined on a form (Personal Information Form or PIF). The PIF is a sworn declaration, used as evidence in the matter of her Refugee Claim. Among other things, that PIF would have also included disclosure of the family’s whereabouts for several years; certified copies of identity documents such as passports (they needed a passport in order to board an aircraft for their trip into Canada.Is she saying (now) that her passport was counterfeit? Lastly, the PIF woudl have contained a narrative setting out alleged events and occurrences contributing to the “well founded fear” in support of that Refugee claim in Canada. We now have cause to suspect the veracity of the entire PIF. Credibility is a key determinant in Refugee cases. Many fail because the claimant is found to not be credible. (2) Comical to listen to the Liberals attempt to circle the wagons in defence of Monsef by blaming her problem on (a) the bad law and (b) those nasty Conservatives led by Harper. Fact check: Section 109 (dealing with forfeiture of citizenship when fraud is revealed) was a component of of the Original “Immigration Act” on the books since the early 1950’s.
Fraud is fraud. To excuse fraudulent actions as mere inconveniences detracts from the integrity of the entire Immigration system and is an insult to thousands of others seeking admission to Canada who patiently file documents and wait in line for spaces grabbed by queue jumpers establishing bogus Refugee claims.
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