Stop the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees from Canada

Action Alert from the Electronic Intifada and the Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees

THE PROBLEM

The Ayoub family in the basement of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce church, Montreal, 2004. (Darren Ell)

Under imminent threat of deportation by immigration authorities, many Palestinian refugees in Canada have been forced to live underground or take sanctuary. We are asking you to give a few moments today to contact Canadian officials who have the power to stop these deportations and end this human crisis.

For nearly a year, Khalil Ayoub, 67, Nabih Ayoub, 69 and Th�r�se Boulos Haddad, 62, have been living in the basement of Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Gr�ce church, facing arrest and deportation if they leave their place of sanctuary (see related article). The Ayoubs have been refugees their entire lives, fleeing Palestine in 1948 to the refugee camps of Lebanon, and ultimately to Canada. The family are now set to spend their first Christmas in sanctuary in Montreal, as their struggle against deportation and for regularized status continues.

More than 100 Palestinian refugees in Canada face imminent deportation, some to the United States, where they could end up in indefinite detention. Most of the refugees are from the refugee camps of Lebanon and from the Occupied Territories. Their claims for refugee status in Canada have been systematically rejected in recent years and they have now fallen subject to Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s draconian policies of detention and deportation.

On November 30, Immigration Canada deported Ahmad Nafaa, a stateless Palestinian refugee from Ain el Hilweh refugee camp in Southern Lebanon, from Montreal to the United States. Persons denied refugee status in the United States, and who cannot be deported to another country, have often ended up in indefinite detention in harsh conditions.

In response, the Palestinian refugees facing deportation have organized as the Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees and are calling for support and solidarity from groups, organizations and individuals in Canada and throughout the world for their campaign against deportation.

Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are systematically prevented from owning property, working in over 70 professions, receiving proper health care, and moving and traveling freely. The intensified mistreatment of Palestinian refugees inside the camps has left their lives in real and immediate peril.

Those Palestinians who have escaped the dire situation in the Occupied Territories, face daily terror at the hands of the Israeli state, which continues to enforce a deadly and illegal military occupation. Palestinian refugees from the Occupied Territories have fled from the killings, extra-judicial assassinations, house demolitions, illegal arrests, trials without evidence, torture, land confiscation, and constant humiliations.

Canada is seen around the world as a country that has been exemplary in upholding international law and humanitarian principles, but it is not living up to this reputation in the experience of stateless Palestinian refugees who seek only safety.

THE SOLUTION

The Electronic Initifada in cooperation with the Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees [http://refugees.resist.ca] have outlined various ways in which you can support the struggle against Palestinian deportations in Canada and also apply pressure on the Canadian government to accept the demands of the Palestinian refugees. We urge you to take action today.

(1) WRITE TO CANADIAN OFFICIALS WHO HAVE THE POWER TO IMMEDIATELY STOP
THE DEPORTATIONS

Send letters, email and call the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration in Canada. Below talking points are provided as a basis of contacting Immigration Canada officials in Canada.

As usual, be brief and polite. It is best if you formulate your own letter, but feel free to use the sample letter below for guidance.

Judy Sgro
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Email: Minister@cic.gc.ca

Post:
Jean-Edmonds Tower South, 21st Floor
365 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1L1

Subject: Palestinian Refugees Facing Deportation from Canada

Dear Minister Sgro:

This letter is being sent in response to a call from the Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees in Canada. It has been brought to my attention that Citizenship and Immigration Canada is currently preparing to deport upwards of 100 Palestinian refugees in the coming weeks and months.

The Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are forbidden from owning property, working in over 70 professions, receiving proper health care, and moving and traveling freely. These are only a few of the persecutory measures and discriminatory restrictions the Palestinian refugees have to face. Moreover, the intensified mistreatment of Palestinian refugees inside the camps has left their lives in real and immediate peril.

Those Palestinians who have escaped the dire situation in the Occupied Territories, face daily terror at the hands of the Israeli state, which continues to enforce a deadly and illegal military occupation of Palestine. Palestinian refugees from the Occupied Territories have fled from the killings, extra-judicial assassinations, house demolitions, illegal arrests, trials without evidence, torture, land confiscation, and constant humiliations.

I write this letter also to draw attention to the crisis of deportation facing Palestinian refugees in Montreal, who have been forced by Immigration Canada to live underground or take sanctuary, such as Khalil Ayoub, 67 Nabih Ayoub, 69 and Therese Boulos Haddad, 62 who have been refugees all their lives, fleeing Palestine in 1948 to the refugee camps of Lebanon, and ultimately to Canada.

The Ayoub family, confined to the basement of Notre-Dame de Grace Church, were forced to take sanctuary over 10 months ago to escape deportation. The Ayoub family now is set to spend their first Christmas in sanctuary in Montreal, as their struggle against deportation and for their status continues.

Given this context I am writing you in support of the demands of the Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees that Citizenship and Immigration Canada:

1) Immediately stop the deportations of Palestinian refugees.
2) Immediately regularize the status of all Palestinian refugees in Canada

Sincerely,

CC:

Paul Martin, Office of the Prime Minister of Canada:
Email: pm@pm.gc.ca
Fax: 613 941 6900

Michel Dorais, Deputy Minister of Immigration Canada:
Fax: 613 954 3509 or 613 954 5448

Rene D’Aoust, Immigration Canada Director of Investigation & Removals:
Phone: 514 496-1238,
Fax: 514 496-1882

Monique Leclair, Director General
Immigration Canada Quebec Regional Office:
Fax: 514 496-3976

Andrew Telegdi: Chair of Standing Committee on Citizenship & Immigration
Email: telega@parl.gc.ca

Bill Siksay: NDP, Immigration Critic
Email: siksay.b@parl.gc.ca

Meili Faille, (Bloc Quebecois, Immigration Critic)
Email: Faille.M@parl.gc.ca

————————————

(2) EXPRESS SOLIDARITY WITH PALESTINIAN REFUGEES FACING DEPORTATION
FROM CANADA!

-> Endorse the Demands:

Organizations can endorse the demands of the Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees. You can endorse the demands by sending a letter of endorsement to the coalition. The demands are:

1) Immediately stop the deportations of Palestinian refugees.
2) Immediately regularize the status of all Palestinian refugees in Canada

-> Support our Activities, Events and Actions:

Announce and support the activities and events of the Coalition against the deportation of Palestinian refugees. You can also organize events focused on the struggle against Palestinian deportations from Canada, members of the Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees are able to present their struggle publicly.

-> Financial Contributions:

Donate to support the campaign financially. Checks can be written in the name of Medical Aid for Palestine —- Please indicate Coalition Against the Deportaion of Palestinian Refugees in the memo line —- checks can be mailed to the following address:

the Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees
c/o QPIRG McGill
3647 University Street
Montreal, Quebec
H3A 2B3
Canada