[Marxism] FW: Canadian court rules U.S. not "safe country" for refugees
rfidler_8 at sympatico.ca
Fri Nov 30 07:26:40 MST 2007
COURT CITES EXAMPLE OF ARAR CASE
Third-party asylum repugnant to Charter, federal court rules
UNNATI GANDHI AND COLIN FREEZE
Globe & Mail, November 30, 2007
Citing the example of Maher Arar, a Federal Court judge ruled yesterday that
Canada must reconsider a reciprocal refugee-processing agreement with the
United States because Washington flouts conventions meant to safeguard
immigrants against torture in their homelands.
Experts say the effect of the ruling may ultimately be that Canada will have
to process thousands more refugee claimants each year, now that the
continued existence of the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA), passed in
2004, is in question.
Mr. Justice Michael Phelan wrote that the U.S. does not comply with
international refugee conventions and that the Canadian government, in
entering into the agreement, "acted unreasonably" in concluding that it did.
"... The United States' policies and practices do not meet the conditions
set down for authorizing Canada to enter into a STCA," Judge Phelan wrote in
his 126-page decision.
"The U.S. does not meet the Refugee Convention requirements nor the [UN]
Convention Against Torture prohibition (the Maher Arar case being one
example). Further, the STCA does not comply with the relevant provisions of
Mr. Arar was under Canadian investigation in 2002 when U.S. officials
stopped him at a New York airport and sent him to the Middle East to be
interrogated as an alleged al-Qaeda suspect. His complaints of being wrongly
smeared at home and tortured overseas were upheld by a judicial inquiry last
year, causing Canada to reconsider many of its laws and practices.
Judge Phelan also concluded that the Canadian government has not conducted
the ongoing review of the STCA mandated by Parliament "despite both the
significant passage of time since the commencement of the STCA and the
evidence as to U.S. practices currently available."
The STCA requires refugee claimants to seek protection in the first country
they reach, and has allowed Canada to automatically send refugee claimants
at the border back to the United States, from where they are usually
detained or deported.
The result has meant a dramatic drop in the government's refugee caseload,
one immigration expert says, reducing the number of asylum claims in Canada
by as much as 50 per cent.
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