Thursday, February 1, 2007

Act Now: Fight the deportation of Palestinian refugees


:: Background::

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:

Stop the deportation of Palestinian refugees;
Grant them permanent residence in Canada.



<< 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


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


cc: Office of the Prime Minister of Canada:, Fax: 613-941-6900