The Danger of The New Refugee Regulations: Pre-Removal Risk Assessments

This summer, along with other significant changes to Canada’s refugee system, the government of Canada placed restrictions on pre-removal risk assessments.

Photo from CBC

A pre-removal risk assessments explores whether there is significant danger (the threat of death, torture, other cruel and unusual punishment etc.) to failed refugee claimants if they were to be deported. While the refugees who are facing deportation may be entitled to a hearing, often there is a significant amount of time that passes between the hearing and deportation where new evidence can arise that validates a refugee’s claims that they could be facing death if they were to be deported. But with the limits on pre-removal risk assessments, this evidence may never be heard.

The CBC tells of one such story, which is particularly horrifying. Asif Khan Khalil is a superstar squash player that claimed refugee status in Canada in August of 2010. Native to Pakistan, Asif says that he would face death in his home city, which is largely controlled by the Taliban.

Asif’s success and achievements with a Western sport is considered to be a serious crime against Islam and the Taliban, a spokesman of which said (in a sworn affidavit) that Asif was “spreading poison of Western civilization by playing the Western sport of squash… [he is] a cancer upon society and a very poisonous influence on the young people in the area.”

Evidence such as that sworn affidavit and another that says his father has had visits from Taliban members threatening to kill Asif, one of which resulted in his father and his wife being beaten, is new evidence that the federal government has not heard and may never hear.

Asif is currently facing deportation from Canada because his refugee claim was denied, the government citing that there was not enough evidence that he was in danger.

These new regulations put some of the most vulnerable people in the world – who Canada has an obligation to help – in even more danger. Those who have been denied the opportunity to obtain a pre-removal risk assessment may need that opportunity the most.

Read more about Asif here.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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