Canada Must Welcome Refugees

By Canadian Association of Muslim Women in Law, 10 September 2015

In 2014, there were 19.5 million refugees in the world, with an average of 42,500 people forced every day to migrate due to conflict and persecution. Only about 10% of these refugees were hosted by countries in the West. This year, approximately 3,270 refugees have already died on their journeys to safety.

Accordingly, the Canadian Association of Muslim Women in Law (CAMWL) stands in solidarity with community and advocacy groups across the country in calling on the Canadian government to welcome refugees. We stand in solidarity with the thousands of people marching on Canadian streets for an end to exclusionary immigration laws.

In under a decade, the Canadian government has implemented 111 new immigration policies without parliamentary approval — compared to 19 in the preceding century and a half. Most recently, these policies have included: cuts to critical health care for refugees; denying appeals to refugees based on their nationality; imprisoning increasing numbers of refugees (including over 4,000 children in the last decade), even in the face of in-detention suicides and deaths; and making citizenship harder to get and easier to lose for racialized people. The criminal context has included the passage of Bill C-51, which expands and entrenches the targeted surveillance of Aboriginal, Black, and Muslim communities in Canada.

CAMWL condemns the Canadian government’s trafficking in a politics of fear, which renders precarious the lives and security of asylum seekers in their countries of origin, during their migrations, and upon their arrival in Canada. (...)

This includes Canada’s participation in the War on Terror, and its accordant support for the killings, torture, and displacement of people throughout and from the Global South. In Afghanistan and Iraq alone, two countries where Canadian forces have been active, the collective death toll exceeds millions; yet Canada continues to deport people to both countries, despite official moratoria on deportations to both. (...)

CAMWL calls on the Canadian government to demonstrate a meaningful commitment to life, peace, and justice. We call on the Canadian government to accept and to support more refugees. Last year, Canada offered a permanent home to less than 1% of new refugees. It ranked 41st in the world in its number of refugees per capita. (...)

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Image: Canadian Association of Muslim Women in Law