Canada: Fight the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees

3 February 2007

One week call/fax/email campaign to demand status now.

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Thousands of people protest in Montreal against Palestinian deportations in 2004. [Photo: Darren Ell]


As we enter 2007, the Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees marks its fourth year of fighting against the deportation of Palestinian refugees from Canada. We have, since early 2003, been publicly organizing to reverse the efforts of Immigration Canada to deport Palestinian refugees and for them instead to be granted permanent residency in Canada.

The year 2006 provided numerous examples of the arbitrariness and injustice with which Immigration Canada has treated the cases of the stateless Palestinian refugees in Canada. While two members of the Coalition received positive decisions on their applications for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, others were unjustly refused, and still more have been left in wait for years. Despite promises by Immigration Canada in November 2005 that their applications would be studied within weeks, more than 10 of those applications remain undecided and the lives of those affected continue in suspense, causing immeasurable anxiety and insecurity.

Immigration Canada also refused applications in at least three Palestinian cases in Montreal this past year, including an elderly couple whose children are legal residents of Canada, shattering their hopes of establishing themselves in Montreal and ending their life-long statelessness. Immigration also refused, for the third time, the Pre-Removal Risk Assessment [PRRA] of Osama fi Saleh Omar, who faces deportation to the West Bank. The Federal Court, for the third time, overturned Immigration’s decision and ordered the file re-studied. Osama is now waiting for his fourth PRRA decision. He has not seen his wife and children for over five years.

Our struggle continues. Our demands remain the same:

[1] Stop the deportation of Palestinian refugees;
[2] Grant them permanent residence in Canada.

Act Now! call/fax/email the Minister of Immigration, to Support our Demands.

Sample Letter Below

Diane Finley
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Confederation Bldg, Room 707
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Telephone: (613) 996-4974
Fax: (613) 996-9749
Email: minister@cic.gc.ca

Sample Letter:

The Honorable Diane Finley

RE: Palestinian Refugees facing deportation

January 13th, 2006

I am writing in support of the Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees and to bring your attention to a situation that must be immediately remedied: Palestinian refugees in Canada continue to face imminent deportation to the Occupied Territories and to the refugee camps of Lebanon.

We are angered by the fact that the Canadian government would even consider deporting stateless Palestinians to the refugee camps and military occupation that they fled in search of peace and security in Canada. In Lebanon, Palestinian refugees are systematically prevented from owning property, working in dozens of professions, receiving proper health care, and accessing higher education. The conditions inside the camps are deplorable. The intensified mistreatment of Palestinian refugees inside the camps has left their lives in real and immediate peril. Moreover, the violence and poverty faced by Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza strip are so notorious that no government can pretend to be unaware. Palestinian refugees from the Occupied Territories have fled from the killings, extra-judicial assassinations, house demolitions, illegal arrests, torture, land confiscation, and constant humiliations

Yet Canada continues to threaten to deport stateless Palestinian refugees back to the Occupied Territories and the refugee camps in Lebanon.

We are writing to ask you to respect human rights and stop the injustice faced by those Palestinian refugees facing deportation from Canada. We ask you to

[1] Stop the Deportations; and
[2] Grant them permanent residence in Canada.

In signing the United Nations Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness in 1978, the government of Canada championed the cause of stateless refugees. If Canada allows the deportation of Palestinians, it would be abdicating that responsibility. We are asking you as the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada to act now and grant Palestinian refugees permanent resident status.

We thank you for your attention and efforts in this urgent matter…

Sincerely

cc: Office of the Prime Minister of Canada: pm@pm.gc.ca, Fax: 613-941-6900