Canada and Turkey: Toronto Kurdish Community and Information Centre (TKCC); methods used by the organization to verify an individual's Kurdish ethnicity; method of issuing letters in support of an individual's Kurdish ethnicity; content of such letters (2018-February 2020)
The following information was provided to the Research Directorate by a TKCC representative in response to a question about how the TKCC verifies a person's Kurdish identity:
- TKCC asks the applicant to provide multiple references here in Canada, known to the community, credible, and are in good standing in the community. If the applicant does not have any reliable point of reference in Canada, they are asked to provide a reference in Turkey or Kurdistan part of Turkey who would know them for a long time, their family, as well as their original location of birth and community [in which] they grew up.
- Applicant's identification information from [their] home country with birthdate and place, province, district, parent's information.
- Level of spoken [language ability of] any dialect of Kurdish (Kurmanji, Zazaki, Sorani, as well as local tongues such as Kochgiri, Pazarcik, Mardini, or Herki)[,] [which is] also asked to be assessed later during [a] meeting. The parents may also be evaluated for their knowledge of Kurdish.
- TKCC generally evaluates the applicant's birthplace, a region [from] where they come, their tribe, their knowledge and level of Kurdish dialect, local customs, cultures, and general knowledge of Kurdish history, significant events such as uprisings, rebellions, [and] massacres [to which] the host state governments may have subjected their communities. (TKCC 18 Feb. 2020)
The same source provided the following information in response to a question about the procedure by which the TKCC issues a letter to attest to a person's Kurdish identity:
- Applicants [are] requested to fill out a form according to their Turkish birth certificate or [n]ational identification card. They are also asked to provide at least two references known to the community in Canada or abroad.
- Our committee member(s) working on the application will contact the references provided by the applicant in Canada or in [the applicant's home country] to learn about the applicant's family, friends, relatives, tribe, and other specific background information such as social and cultural affiliation, association or organization they may know. Family members will also be asked about their knowledge of the Kurdish dialect they speak. If they are unable to speak any dialects, then the point of reference will be asked about the reasons, [if] they are unable to speak the local dialect or mother tongue.
- Applicants are then provided with an appointment date and time to come to the Center for a face-to-face meeting with our board member(s).
- During the meeting, individuals are being evaluated according to the level of Kurdish dialect he/she speaks, references known, the region [from which they] originated, and their birthplace, if applicable, their tribe, as well as any general knowledge of Kurdish culture and history.
- If the applicant does not know any Kurdish dialect, his/her mother or father [is] contacted by telephone for evaluating their knowledge of any Kurdish dialects, their city, village, community, and the birthplace.
After collection of all of the required information, multiple board members who are in the committee oversee the verification of the cultural and ethnic identity of the applicant, [and] will objectively attest to the individual['s] Kurdish ancestry.
- A letter is drafted with specific references about the individual's birthplace, reference known to the community, knowledge of Kurdish dialect, and local customs and culture.
- [The] [a]pplicant may also be informed if there is insufficient information to attest their cultural heritage. In this case, if the applicant wished, they are registered as [a] member of the Center who is not coming from a Kurdish background.
- The applicant will then be invited to come to the community [center] and receive the document in the envelope in person. (TKCC 18 Feb. 2020)
The TKCC representative provided the following information on the format of the letters discussed above:
- Letterhead stationery security-marked paper used to prevent duplication and imitation.
- The stationary has the TKCC logo on the background.
- [The] TKCC logo is on the left top heading, [the] Canadian national flag is on the top right heading.
- The center's contact information is written [between the] logo and flag.
- A unique identifier number placed on the right top corner for internal use and tracking.
- Signature of one of the Center's co-presidents … found on the bottom left corner of the document.
- The center's … seal is … in the right bottom of the final document. (TKCC 18 Feb. 2020)
A sample of a verification document, provided by the TKCC representative, is attached to this Response.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Toronto Kurdish Community and Information Centre (TKCC). 18 February 2020. Correspondence from a representative to the Research Directorate.
Toronto Kurdish Community and Information Centre (TKCC). 19 January 2020. Sample of a verification letter. Sent to the Research Directorate by a TKCC representative, 18 February 2020.