STATELESS PALESTINIAN REFUGEE TAKEN TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 23RD BY CANADIAN IMMIGRATION AUTHORITIES: CURRENTLY DETAINED AT MONTREAL’S LAVAL DETENTION CENTER & FACING IMMEDIATE DEPORTATION
Ahmad Nafaa, a Palestinian refugee from Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp in south Lebanon and active member of the Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees, was forcibly detained Tuesday evening around 9 PM, by Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC) at Metro-McGill. Ahmad is now facing deportation to the U.S, where he will be held in detention indefinately, before he is ultimately deported back to Ein el-Hilweh camp.
In Canada, as a result of his refused refugee claim, Ahmad had been forced to live underground, without access to basic services such as health Care and education. Ahmad remained in Canada due to well-founded fears of returning to that which he initially fled, a life of statelessness without any basic civil and human rights and facing daily dangers. Ahmed, like many other Palestinian refugees from Lebanon, holds no citizenship to any country, has no right to own property, and is legally barred from working in close to 80 professions. Now, after struggling for his status and that of fellow Coalition members, he ends up imprisoned. Seeking protection from persecution, Ahmad again ends up in legal-limbo. With no status he is jailed, criminalized, and faces long detention and ultimate deportation.
Ahmad’s detention occurs as Palestinian refugees residing in Montreal continue to actively organize for their basic rights, including an end to deportations. Today’s actions by Immigration Canada serve to imprison and deport one of the most active members of the Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees.
The deplorable actions of Immigration Canada will not quell the struggle of the Palestinian refugees for status and dignity! The fight for justice for Ahmad Nafaa and the 40 other Palestinians facing deportation will strengthen and grow in the face of repression!
PLEASE ACT NOW!
CALL / FAX / EMAIL the Minister of Immigration & as many of the CIC officials listed at the bottom of the sample letter as you can:
WHEN YOU CALL, DEMAND THE FOLLOWING TWO THINGS:
1) Ahmad Nafaa be released from Laval Detention Center immediately;
2) Ahmad Nafaa be granted a stay of deportation, until his Humanitarian and Compassionate appeal is processed.
For more information, contact the Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: 514.591.3171.
November 24th, 2004
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada
CIC National Headquarters
365 Laurier, Jean Edmonds South Tower,
Fax: (613) 947-8319
Phone: (613) 954-1064
Honourable Judy Sgro,
We hereby request that you, as Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, immediately order a stay of removal and thereby suspend the deportation of Ahmad Nafaa (4277-4326), until his humanitarian and compassionate application has been studied.
Pursuant to section 50(e) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, “A removal order is stayed for the duration of a stay imposed by the Minister.”
Though the general control and supervision of enforcement and removals has been transferred to the portfolio of the Solicitor General, it remains at the discretion of Immigration Officers to issue a stay of removal.
The Officers of Citizenship and Immigration Canada being possessed of the authority to issue a stay of removal, we respectfully request that this authority be exercised immediately with respect to Ahmad Nafaa.
Given that Ahmad Nafaa has been detained by the Canada Border Services Agency, and has already been refused at the pre-removal risk assessment level, his deportation is imminent. The Minster of Citizenship and Immigration must act now to prevent this injustice.
The fact that Ahmad’s immediate deportation would be to the United States does not materially affect his plight. The detention of those in Ahmad’s situation is virtually automatic in the U.S. right now and, barring highly exceptional circumstances, eventual deportation to his country of origin is extrordinarily likely.
The situation is urgent. Barring Ministerial intervention, Ahmad Nafaa Faces imminent deportation.
Ahmad was born a stateless Palestinian in Ein El-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon. As a result of persecution in Lebanon and the fear and poverty that are facts of daily life in Ein El-Helweh refugee camp, the future is bleak for the Palestinian refugees who reside there. Unemployment rates are high due to the fact that Palestinians are banned from an ever-increasing number of professions. Poverty rates are astronomical. The restrictions on new constructions within the camp mean that the population is forced to live in dilapidated and deplorable housing. All of these factors lead to a situation so bleak for those residing in the camp that suicide is a common occurrence.
After 20 years of life in the camp, the constant racism, discrimination, fear, violence and poverty finally became a weight that was too heavy for Ahmad to shoulder any longer and he fled the country and claimed refugee status in Canada. His claim for convention refugee status was denied on February 20, 2002, while his brother Mahmoud’s refugee claim, heard by a different member of the refugee determination board, was accepted.
Since arriving in Canada Ahmad has become fully integrated in Canadian And Quebec society. He has found himself reunited with a brother whom he had not seen in more than five years and they have quickly reformed their close familial bond and have become inseparable. Ahmad is currently employed in the restaurant industry and is a self sufficient and contributing member of society, he dreams of returning to school and continuing the nursing degree that he began in Lebanon. After suffering for so many years as a refugee he wishes to help alleviate the suffering of others. In every sense of the word, Ahmad has found a home in Canada.
Ahmad Nafaa now faces deportation to the Palestinian refugee camps of Lebanon, where the conditions faced by Palestinians are degrading and dangerous. It is beyond dispute that the treatment of Palestinians by the Lebanese government is in clear violation of a variety of norms of international human rights law. Palestinians in Lebanon have been denied their basic rights for over 56 years.
Moreover, this condition is directly related to the statelessness of Palestinians. Because of their unique situation, Palestinians have been denied not only the rights accorded to citizens but also access to the international system for the protection of refugees.
In signing the United Nations Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness on July 17th, 1978. The Canadian government undertook a responsibility for reducing statelessness. In returning Ahmad Nafaa to Lebanon, this government would abdicate that responsibility. Therefore, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration must act now and order a stay of removal for Ahmad Nafaa pursuant to s. 50(e) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
We thank you for your immediate attention in this matter,
Michel Dorais, Deputy Minister CIC: Fax: (613) 954-3509 or (613) 954-5448
René D’Aoust: Director Investigation & Removal: Phone: (514) 496-1238, Fax: (514) 496-1882
Monique Leclair, Director General: CIC QC Regional Office: Fax: (514) 496-3976
John R. McWhinnie, Assistant Deputy Minister CIC: Fax: (613) 946-6048
Debra Normoyle, Director General: Enforcement Branch: Fax: (613) 954-6765
Marc Towaij, Senior Removals Advisor: Fax: (613) 954-5238
Michel Coté, Removal Liason Officer: Phone: (613) 952-6896
Carole Lamarre: Director of Inland Services: Phone: (514) 283 9939