Strugar v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2013 FC 880 (2013)

Parts:Strugar v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration)
Reporting Judge:The Honourable Mr. Justice Zinn
Docket Number:IMM-10084-12
 
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Federal Court - Strugar v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration)

Source: http://decisions.fct-cf.gc.ca/en/2013/2013fc880/2013fc880.html

Date: 20130819

Docket: IMM-10084-12

Citation: 2013 FC 880

Ottawa , Ontario , August 19, 2013

PRESENT: The Honourable Mr. Justice Zinn

BETWEEN:

ZLATKO STRUGAR, SANDRA STRUGAR, LEONARDA STRUGAR, TEODOR STRUGAR,

and KAROLA PONGRAC

Applicants

and

THE MINISTER OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION

Respondent

REASONS FOR JUDGMENT AND JUDGMENT

[1] The applicant family members are all Croatian citizens. They arrived together in Canada on August 24, 2011, and sought refugee protection on August 31, 2011, on the basis that Mrs. Strugar is a lesbian and because of that she and her family suffered persecution in Croatia.

[2] Mrs. Strugar is legally married to Mr. Strugar who knew that she was a lesbian when he married her; however, they agreed to raise children together and to have separate sexual relationships. The marriage would allow them to have a family, and would provide a cover for Mrs. Strugar’s homosexuality.

[3] Two years prior to fleeing Croatia, people in Mrs. Strugar’s community witnessed her kissing her girlfriend goodbye in a parked car near a bus stop. Members of her community then began to threaten her, her husband, her mother, and her children. Mrs. Strugar’s son, Teodor, was targeted at school and got into several fights with children who had found out that Mrs. Strugar was a lesbian. Teodor has been hospitalized twice as a result of these incidents – once for a broken arm, and once after his calf muscle on his right leg was cut.

[4] The Board determined that the applicants were neither Convention refugees nor persons in need of protection pursuant to sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, SC 2001, c 27 . It found that Mrs. Strugar was not credible and that the applicants had failed to rebut the presumption of state protection. Both findings are challenged by the applicants and they further submit that the Board erred in failing to make any clear finding as to whether or not Mrs. Strugar was lesbian and thus failed to provide a transparent factual analysis underlying its conclusion that the applicants do not have a fear of persecution based on a Convention ground.

[5] I agree with the applicants that the Board’s credibility finding is unreasonable. The Board found that Mrs. Strugar’s credibility had been undermined primarily because it found her...

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