CALL TO REPEAL “SAFE THIRD COUNTRY” AGREEMENT
RRANS CALLS FOR PROTECTION OF LGBTQ REFUGEES LEFT BEHIND BY AMERICAN LEGISLATION
FEBRUARY 1, 2017—The Rainbow Refugee Association of Nova Scotia calls for Prime Minister Trudeau to repeal the “Safe Third Country” agreement with the United States in response to President Donald Trump’s declaration banning refugees from seven countries, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, from entry to the United States.
As an organization working to privately sponsor LGBTQI refugees to Nova Scotia, provide information and support to LGBTQI newcomers, and combat racism and homophobia within our communities, we are particularly concerned about this ruling and its potential impact on vulnerable LGBTQI refugees.
All countries on this list of prohibited countries, outlaw consensual same-sex contact, and six of these seven countries may apply the death penalty for consensual same-sex activity. This leaves the most vulnerable LGBTQI immigrants facing the possibility of being deported back to a country where they may face death, or returning to conditions in refugee camps and third countries that are particularly dangerous for people from sexual and gender minorities.
President Trump’s orders thus far have proven unpredictable and we are concerned about the future of human rights for both LGBTQI residents and immigrants in the United States. These words and actions have already been having an effect on immigration to Canada.
As per the Canada-US Safe Third Country agreement, we urge the Government of Canada to immediately review whether, as currently stated on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website, the United States “continues to meet the requirements for designation as a safe third country.” In particular, we are concerned that ongoing inconsistency in American policy will continue to leave refugees vulnerable to deportation or detention.
Given that the United States of America is clearly no longer a “safe” country for citizens of these nations, and particularly for their LGBTQI citizens, we call on the Canadian government to repeal the Safe Third Country amendment and put procedures in place to process applications from all asylum seekers from countries affected by the ban who are in the United States and wish to seek refuge in Canada, especially LGBTQI asylum seekers. We call on you to increase the number of refugees accepted in Canada in 2017 to accommodate individuals affected by this ban.
RRANS relies on the continued support of Nova Scotians to support these sponsored refugees and continue bringing others to Halifax. Representatives from RRANS are available to speak to media.
HOW TO HELP
Donations to RRANS can be made at http://www.rainbowrefugeens.com/welcome-home/
Rainbow Refugee Association of Nova Scotia (RRANS) is a grassroots, non-profit organization established to advocate for, support, and privately sponsor LGBTQI refugees seeking to re-settle in Nova Scotia.
Since 2013, we’ve privately sponsored 9 refugees from Iran, Syria the Gambia, and provided social support to LGBTQI government-assisted refugees, refugees privately sponsored by other groups, and asylum seekers.
LGBTQI refugees are one of the most isolated and brutalized groups of people worldwide; 75 nations criminalize same-sex relations and eight of these apply the death penalty. Refugees are criminalized by governments, often shunned by families, and can be ostracized within their community at large.
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