Victory for Vancouver Refugee
Mr. Ali Reza Monemi received a deportation order on January 7, 2005 saying he would be sent back to Iran on Tuesday, January 11. He pleaded with Immigration officials to receive more time to arrange his affairs before his deportation but his request was refused and he was promptly detained.
Mr. Ali, like many other Iranian refugees, is facing deportation to a country despite grave danger to his life. According to medical reports, Mr Monemi has already suffered sixty lashes at the hand of the Morality Police and he has been sentenced to 85 more lashings, imprisonment and excommunication within Iran. He also faces the possibility of death for fleeing the country in 1999 before his punishment could be carried out and for making a refugee claim in Canada.
Immigration Canada in the past has claimed that they have no evidence of any danger inflicted upon anyone who was deported to Iran, but the recent highly-publicized case of Haleh Sahba (a womens rights activist deported from Vancouver exactly one month ago on Dec 7) has proven otherwise. It has been widely reported that Haleh was detained for 26 hours. Like Haleh Sahba, Ali is being sent back to Iran without adequate travel documents.
On November 5, 2004 Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew announced that Canada had tabled a resolution at the 59th session of the UN General Assembly, on the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran, and the Canadian government maintains a travel advisory to Iran for Canadians. Meanwhile, Immigration Canada is sending Iranians back to serious danger.
With new immigration and security laws introduced after 9-11, the regressive nature of Canada's immigrant and security laws have increased. New laws and policy changes are transforming Canada and the US into Fortress North America. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act has made it more difficult to obtain status in Canada -- whether as an immigrant or refugee -- while making detentions and deportations easier.
The"safe third country" agreement, implemented on December 29, 2004, will allow the immediate removal of any refugee claimant who enters Canada via the United States. This accounts for up to 40% of all refugee claimants. The Anti-Terrorism Act provides unprecedented powers to police and government officials, including detention without trial and secret evidence. Instead of providing a fair hearing to refugee claimants, the IRB acts as a confrontational tribunal, populated by judges notorious and even charged for their incompetence, political partisanship, and in many cases, corruption.
Moreover, the new refugee determination system has no appeal process for a rejected claim, although Minister Coderre promised that the Refugee Appeal Division would be implemented in Canada by June 2003. Meanwhile, all the other avenues such as the Pre-Removal Risk Assessment process are deeply flawed, as statistically over 95% of refugees are unable to obtain a positive PRRA decision and refugees are allowed to be deported while still waiting for a decision on a pending Humanitarian and Compassionate claim.