Canada's NDP

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July 22nd, 2020

Federal Court decides that the Safe Third Country Agreement violates Charter rights

Jenny Kwan, NDP Critic for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, made the following statement:

“When the Trump administration attempted to impose their travel ban in January 2017, it was obvious that the Liberal government could no longer count on the United States to live up to its international and humanitarian obligations, especially regarding the fair treatment of refugees. It was shameful that the Liberal government failed to act at that time.

The Federal Court decision today is an important and significant victory for the rights of asylum seekers. It stated unequivocally that the Liberals were wrong and allowed a policy that compromised the safety of asylum seekers. It makes clear that everyone, including those who face persecution, should have their basic human rights protected. Contrary to what Minister Blair has said in the past, this proves that refugees are not simply ‘asylum shopping.’

This decision reaffirms what advocates, lawyers, academics, New Democrats, and thousands of Canadians have argued right from the beginning– that the Safe Third Country Agreement contravenes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by putting the lives of asylum seekers at risk.

This decision will undoubtedly save lives. We hope the Liberals will accept this important decision and not appeal it since too many people have already lost their rights.

The Liberal government must now give notice to the U.S. immediately and withdraw from the Safe Third Country Agreement to stop being complicit in forcing asylum seekers to return to persecution, torture and even death.

The Trudeau government must also review and repeal asylum system changes that were passed in Bill C-97 which effectively rendered those who have made a refugee claim in the 'Five Eyes' countries ineligible to make a claim in Canada.”