May 13th Urgent Action-“safe” country list not safe for LGBTQ refugees

PLEASE ACT TODAY. Write M. Ignatieff and urge the Liberals to protect the lives and human rights of all potential refugees.

Bill C-11 on Refugee Reform is before the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration now. The Conservatives are pushing this Bill through fast! It was created with no consultation with organizations that work with Refugees.

While the NPD and the Bloc have taken a firm position rejecting the most problematic part of the Bill–the “safe” country list, The liberals are equivocating.  The liberals are strategizing today and tomorrow–Please ACT TODAY (May 13th).

People from countries on the “safe” list would be moved through the system quickly, with no option for an Appeal, nor any of the (inadequate) safeguards we rely on now–the H&C or PRRA

The safe country list is NOT safe for LGBTQ refugees–
-Equality before the law is undermined
-Homophobic and Transphobic persecution is hard to research and in flux. Information about on the ground conditions for LGBTQ refugees is scarce and unreliable. There is very real danger that a country could make it onto the list when conditions for LGBTQ people are still unsafe–or that country conditions could change dramatically, with the process for getting a country off the list lagging behind.
-Countries with a “safe” list do not have a more efficient refugee system–just one that is less fair.
For more on C-11 please see our blog at http://www.rainbowrefugeecanada.wordpress.ca

The Canadian Council for Refugees and Rainbow Refugee Committee are asking you to write M. Ignatieff and cc the following liberal MPs

Their emails are:

Ignatieff.M@parl.gc.ca
Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca
Coderre.D@parl.gc.ca
Karygiannis.J@parl.gc.ca

Suggested message:

Dear Mr Ignatieff,

I am writing about Bill C-11, the refugee reform bill. I am deeply concerned that the bill has elements that may lead to refugees being denied the protection they need. As part of Canada’s diverse LGBTQ communities I am particularly concerned about the impact of the bill on refugees escaping homophobic or transphobic persecution.

The bill is being pushed through committee at an extraordinarily fast pace, despite the importance and complexity of the issues, and the fact that there was no broad public consultation on the bill prior to
tabling.  Why the haste?  Why is the Liberal Party not demanding that Parliament take the time necessary to study this bill carefully?

I am also concerned that we have yet to hear clearly from the Liberal Party that you will not compromise on refugee rights and that you will take a strong position that ensures that any bill passed fully conforms to Canada’s international human rights obligations.  In particular, I would like to be assured that the Liberals will not vote for a bill that accords different rights to refugee claimants based on country of origin.

Creating a two-tier refugee process goes against principles of equality before the law. Depriving nationals of particular country of the right to appeal is dangerous given the complexity of refugee claims. I am particularly concerned that a country could get designated safe based on inaccurate or incomplete information on conditions for LGBTQ people.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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