27 March 2009
By Maria E. Molina
Impunity Watch Reporter, North America
OTTAWA, Canada – The Canadian government is prohibiting the entry of Mexicans seeking refuge and safety in Canada as a result of violence.
Part of the difficulty for refugee applicants is that Immigration and Refugee Board judges Mexico as a country that is able to protect its citizens. As such, the Canadian government doesn’t believe that Mexicans are genuine refugee cases, or fleeing from genuine persecution in Mexico. Instead, the Canadian government suggests claimants can simply relocate to another part of Mexico.
Instead, the Canadian authorities assert that Mexican refugee claimants are economic migrants to Canada. This is unrealistic. Mexico is plagued by violence, lack of protection from the authorities, corruption, and drugs. It is unconscionable that the Canadian government is prejudging asylum claims from Mexico.
More than 8,000 deaths have been linked to drug-related violence in Mexico over the past year. The situation has also alarmed the United States government. The Obama administration sent 500 federal agents to assist the Mexican officers.
There is a high rejection rate for Mexican claimants – 90 per cent. Some of the people rejected have received direct threats for different reasons. They were either caught in the middle of drug cartels when they are trying to control an area, or they saw a crime or corruption. The Immigration and Refugee Board need to look closely at the nature of the claims because there are serious human rights concerns with respect to people coming from Mexico.
Because Mexicans do not require a visa to enter Canada, they are exempt from a Canada-U.S. treaty that requires refugees to make a claim in the first country they enter – called the Safe Third Country agreement. This makes the entire process for Mexican refugees easier. In cases of serious threat, this exemption is a matter of great concern.
For more information, please see:
CBC News – Canada ignores drug violence in Mexican refugee cases: advocates – 27 March 2009
Financial Post – How do you abuse a refugee system with no rules? – 26 March 2009
The Canadian Press – Canada ignoring refugees from Mexican violence: advocates – 27 March 2009