The assistant to a journalist allegedly killed during Mexico’s drug violence had been denied refugee status. The man was the assistant to Amado Ramírez Dillane, who was prominent among Mexican journalists and covered the drug cartel violence and the activities of government officials, leaving him with a number of enemies. He was killed in April of 2007.

Since the end of 2006, around 18,000 people have been killed either directly or indirectly because of Mexico’s drug cartel violence, and 30 journalists have been killed or have gone missing.

Now, the man who helped Dillane research his stories has received several death threats and the Superior Court of Justice in Mexico denied his application to be put into witness protection. He’s been attacked and his wife sexually assaulted in the driveway of their own home in Mexico. They entered Canada seeking refugee protection two weeks later, but the Immigration and Refugee Board denied this claim and told them to move to another city in Mexico for safety. They appealed, and the Federal Court of Canada had ordered a second review. Dillane’s lawyer has stated that with drug violence and corrupt police, no part of Mexico is safe for her client.

The second review was also denied, suggesting he was not in any real danger. After  he appealed again, the Federal Court agreed with the Immigration and Refugee Board’s idea that the applicant had taken a story and exaggerated it to make it sound like he was in real danger, when he wasn’t.

The man has not spoken to the press about his situation, because his deportation is imminent and he fears for his safety once he returns to Mexico.

My take:

Mexico is a democratic country and part of NAFTA. But that is where it ends. Political corruption there is at epidemic proportions. Real danger does exist in Mexico. Victims of drug violence should be given refugee protection in Canada, provided credible evidence is adduced at the hearing.

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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