Canadian Immigration needs to step up

Apparently Canadian Immigration doesn’t really want to help protect potential asylum seekers. In fact they seem to be afraid of them. In late June, the University of Toronto is hosting the WorldPride Human Rights Conference and is touted to be:

exciting gathering of activists, artists, educators, journalists, policymakers, students, and others engaged in LGBTI human rights around the world. The conference provides a unique opportunity for a global dialogue about LGBTI human rights, ranging from performances to presentations, politics to policies, and activists to academics.

However, employees at Canadian visa posts in Nairobi and London, have denied Visas to  10 Ugandan activists who have been invited to the conference.

A review of the visa decisions showed the Ugandan’s applications were rejected for a combination of reasons: lack of travel history, family ties in Canada and in Uganda, and insufficient funds for the trip.
In eight of the applications, officials concluded they did not believe the applicants had a legitimate business purpose in Canada. In six, the officers said the applicants did not have the money to “carry out your stated purpose in going to Canada or to maintain yourself while in Canada and to effect your departure.”

Nancy Caron, a spokeswoman for the immigration department, said officials understand people are disappointed when their applications are refused, but the onus is on the applicant to show that they meet the requirements.

“Decisions are made by highly trained public servants. All applications from around the world are assessed equally against exactly the same criteria, regardless of their country of origin,” said Caron.

“Visa officers look at many factors in assessing whether an applicant is a genuine temporary resident.”

The Canadian government has has some harsh words for the Ugandan Law that criminalizes homosexuality, but unlike some countries has not put other pressure on the Ugandan government.

 The Canadian government has condemned the Ugandan law and said it “will serve as an impediment in our relationship with the Ugandan government” but has not announced any concrete measures.

It appears that the official stance from Ottawa is – we are saying we don’t want to criminalize homosexuality, but we’re not going to help individuals who are suffering because of it.

People who face imprisonment in their own country for being just might want to stay in Canada as asylum seekers, so we shouldn’t let them in. That’s how we support the persecuted. I thought that was what asylum was all about.

Many of this government’s pronouncements consist of ‘pay attention to what we say, not what we do’.


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