Federal Court again Voices Need to Assess Section 97
In a recent decision by the Honourable Justice Russell, the Federal Court again affirmed the need of Refugee Board Members to consider refugee claims under both sections 96 and 97 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. While this is not a requirement in all cases, sections 96 and 97 do have different requirements. In this case, the absence of persecution on the basis of political opinion did not absolve the Board Member from determining whether – despite the lack of connection to political opinion – that the refugee claimant’s life may still be at risk.
Here, our client had suffered violence on multiple occasions and had medical evidence to corroborate his injuries. While the Board Member may not have accepted that he was at risk from politically-motivated violence, this reasoning did not explain or address the evidence that he had been repeatedly targeted. Our office argued that the Board Member had not assessed whether our client’s life was at risk or whether he would be at risk of cruel and unusual treatment, as per section 97 and corroborated by the medical evidence.
Our client will soon be given a second chance to have his refugee claim determined, before a different Board Member.