On April 6, 2020, the Immigration and Refugee Board made an important announcement that will affect many current and future refugee claims from Nigeria.
Specifically, the Immigration and Refugee Board announced that it had revoked a “Jurisprudential Guide” previously in place for claims from Nigeria.
A “Jurisprudential Guide” is a decision that the Immigration and Refugee Board selects as a leading case in order to provide guidance to decision-makers when dealing with refugee claims and appeals that raise similar issues.
The “Jurisprudential Guide” for Nigeria was a decision to reject the asylum claim of a woman who had fled Nigeria to escape her family, whom she feared would force her to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) and to marry against her will.
The decision-maker ruled that the woman was not a refugee because she had an “internal flight alternative” within Nigeria as she could have sought refuge in the larger cities of Ibadan or Port Harcourt, where she would not face a risk of FGM.
The selection of this decision as a “Jurisprudential Guide” was intended to provide guidance to decision-makers considering whether claimants from Nigeria who fear non-state actors could reasonably flee to other cities within Nigeria.
Refugee advocates have opposed this “Jurisprudential Guide” since its introduction as it created a heightened and unfair evidentiary burden for asylum seekers from Nigeria.
It is therefore welcome news that the Immigration and Refugee Board is revoking this “Jurisprudential Guide”, which it announced was due to evolving country information that diminished the value of the factual findings made in the decision.
However, the Immigration and Refugee Board has determined that the decision can still be considered as “Reasons of Interest” by decision-makers. This means that decision-makers can still consider the decision’s legal framework for “internal flight alternative” analysis, while applying more updated country condition evidence.
If you previously had a refugee claim from Nigeria denied on the basis of this “Jurisprudential Guide” and wish to know what your options are now that it has been revoked, please contact one of the lawyers at Battista Smith Migration Law Group at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-203-2899 ext. 30.
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