Human Rights Watch to Canada: STOP Bill C-31

Human Rights Watch, a non-government organization that monitors human rights world wide, has published a letter sent to Canadian MPs regarding Bill C-31, also known as the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, because it violates the rights of refugees in Canada.

We’ve blogged about this before. If you’re unfamiliar with the threat this bill poses to human rights in Canada, check out these immigration blog posts.

Bill C-31 was originally introduced with provisions in it that were unfair to refugees. It didn’t pass until these provisions were removed, but now that the Conservative government has a majority they’ve put these provisions back in place.

These dangerous provisions include:

– Anyone arriving in Canada in a designated group (that the government determines, such as a large group of people arriving on a boat) can be locked up for a year – including men and women over the age of 16, people who are disabled and the elderly.

– The Charter of Rights and Freedoms grants anyone in Canada the right to be free from arbitrary detention – unless you’re in the aforementioned group. All other refugees get a review thin 48 hours to see if their detention is fair.

– Shorter timelines for review of certain cases means refugees won’t have time to adequately prepare.

– The government would create a safe countries list, and refugees from these countries could be deported without any kind of appeal or consideration for their specific situation.

The Bill C-31, with these provisions in place, violates Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canada’s obligations under international law.

The letter from Human Rights Watch reiterates this and can be found here.

You can also write your Member of Parliament (MP) and encourage them to fight Bill C-31. Find your MP using your postal code here.

Bill C-31 is set to take effect this summer.

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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