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Abr 12, 2021

Safe Third Country Agreement Struck Down

«Canada has a long and proud tradition of providing protection to those who need it most by providing refuge to the world`s most vulnerable people, and the Government of Canada remains firmly committed to maintaining a compassionate, fair and orderly refugee protection system. The STCA remains a comprehensive tool to achieve this, based on the principle that people should seek asylum in the first safe country they arrive in. «In terms of evidence and questions, we always knew what the right outcome would be, but the nature of those challenges – convincing a court to make a law too complicated – is quite complex,» Says Balasundaram. Refugee groups have long fought against the agreement and have said that the United States is not a «safe» country in which applicants should be returned. This means that Canada can reject asylum seekers arriving at land ports along the United States. Border on the basis that they must pursue their claims to the United States, the country where they arrived first. Canadian refugee advocates have strongly opposed the agreement and say the United States is not always a safe country for people fleeing persecution. The public interest parties involved in the case welcomed the ruling and asked the federal government to stop sending individuals back to the United States as part of the agreement and not to appeal the court`s decision. Ottawa is appealing the Federal Court of Justice`s ruling overturning the agreement, and government lawyers argued at a hearing Friday that the Court of Appeal should halt the decision until the full challenge is resolved, leaving the refugee pact in effect beyond January. The agreement on the security of third countries deserved to be repealed.

But this alone is not enough to ensure fair treatment of refugees at the border. Justice Ann McDonald suspended her decision for six months to give the Canadian government time to respond, so that the STCA remains in effect and thousands of asylum seekers continue to be turned away. Instead of reacting with a policy change, the federal government decided in a scandalous way to appeal the decision and continue to endanger refugee families from becoming victims and dead. If this complaint fails, they will have another opportunity to appeal, this time to the Supreme Court of Canada. The whole process could take years, as refugees continue to suffer. In his statement, Blair said the agreement with the United States remained «a complete vehicle» to maintain a compassionate, fair and orderly refugee protection system based on the principle that people should seek asylum in the first safe country they arrive in.