It is important to gather and send evidence about your refugee claim to the IRB-RPD. Evidence includes any information that shows you are telling the truth. It can be documents, letters, newspaper articles, medical or psychological reports, photographs, audio recordings, or even videos.
Evidence helps the Member believe what happened to you, and understand the situation in your country and why you cannot return.
When to start gathering evidence
Getting evidence takes time, especially if you are trying to get it from another country. Start gathering evidence as soon as you can. If you have a representative, ask them what evidence may help, tell them what you have, and ask them to look at it. Act quickly.
All evidence, including sound recordings, must be in English or French. Do not use Google Translate or translate documents yourself. A professional translator is best. If you cannot pay for one, you can have someone you trust translate your documents. Try not to ask a relative.
Your translator must sign a declaration. It must have:
- the translator’s name,
- the language and dialect (if any),
- a statement that the translation is accurate, and,
- the signature of the translator.
Your supporting evidence
There are four types of evidence that you need for your claim.
Evidence of who you are
You need evidence of your identity and citizenship. This can be:
- a passport,
- national identity card,
- birth certificate,
- marriage certificate,
- school transcript or certificate,
- driver’s license or military identity, or
- professional or religious membership.
Other evidence may also help. Ask your representative what evidence you may need to show your identity.
Evidence about your claim
You need evidence that can show:
- Your story and the events in your narrative are true
- You have a honest fear of bad treatment in your country
- You, but not everyone, in your country is at risk
- Your government cannot protect you
- It is not reasonable or safe for you to live in a different city in your country
Here are some questions to help you get evidence for your claim:
- Are there photographs, letters, videos, emails, texts, or other documents about the problems you had? Get them!
- Did you go to the police or a government agency for help? Get a copy of the police report or proof of your visit.
- Did you get medical help? Get a copy of the hospital or doctor’s records.
- Are there news articles or online posts about people connected to your claim? Find them!
- Are there people who saw what happened to you? Ask them to write what happened and send it to you. If possible, ask them to say it is true in front of a lawyer or notary public. Also ask them for a copy of their ID card.
- Are there people who have had problems like yours? Ask them to describe what happened in writing. If possible, ask them to say it is true in front of a lawyer or notary public.
- Is your claim based on your religious or political group, or other group? Get documents that show your membership.
- Do you have mental health problems because of what happened? Get a report from a doctor, psychologist, or counsellor in Canada. This takes time so do this as soon as you can.
- Are you on social media? Take screenshots of any posts directly about your story.
Evidence about country conditions
You can have evidence that shows the conditions in your country related to your claim.
This includes reliable reports about political, social, cultural, economic, and human rights conditions.
The IRB-RPD keeps public documents about conditions in countries around the world in National Documentation Packages (NDPs).
Some of the documents in the NDP may be old. Conditions in your country may have changed or what you experienced may not be in the NDP. Talk to your legal representative to see what new information might help your claim. For example, you can send in:
- current news articles or videos,
- statements from expert witnesses,
- academic articles, or
- human rights reports.
View your country’s National Documentation Packages.
Evidence from witnesses
You can have witnesses at your hearing to speak about your claim. A witness is a person who has important information about you and your claim. You need to prepare each witness to answer all types of questions from both your lawyer and from the Member.
Witnesses cannot listen to what you say at the hearing and you cannot talk to them during breaks. Sometimes the Member may not need to ask your witnesses to speak.
If you have a witness, give the following information in writing to the IRB-RPD, at least ten days before your hearing date:
- Their contact information (address, telephone number, and fax number)
- A short statement about why they are speaking
- How long you think they will speak
- Your relationship to them
- If they will speak in person, by videoconference, or by telephone
- If they need an interpreter, and the language and dialect
- If the witness is an expert, information about their qualifications, and a short report of what they will say, signed by them