It’s a clear reversal of Canada’s previous leadership on helping women who face gender persecution around the world.
The Schlifer Clinic is concerned that changes to immigration and refugee law in Canada as reflected in Bills C-49 and C-31 will have dire effects for women who are trying to escape violence.
Women frequently arrive in Canada fleeing an abusive partner, or accompanied by one, and knowing little or nothing about the refugee determination process or their rights.
Once in Canada, women may leave an abusive situation, resulting in a sponsorship breakdown that leaves them extremely vulnerable.
In its submission to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Immigration, the Clinic and its allies argued that Bill 31 would doubly victimize women by
- designating certain countries as safe when they are not safe for women
- leading to the deportation of women before a risk assessment can be done
- severely limiting applications for refugee status on humanitarian and compassionate grounds
- delaying family reunification for certain refugees
- allowing the permanent residence of legitimate refugees to be withdrawn at any time, creating a subclass of new Canadians who can never fully settle and feel safe
The Clinic argued that the changes in refugee law would conflict with Canada’s obligations under the Charter and in international conventions and protocols.
“While the purported intention of the proposed law is to target human smugglers, in fact, it punishes people who are desperately fleeing persecution, including women who have survived such horrors as partner assault, incest and rape,” the Clinic said in a statement. “It’s a clear reversal of Canada’s previous leadership on helping women who face gender persecution around the world.”
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