Call to Action in Support of Kader in Sanctuary

Posted by admin on Jan 4th, 2007

Fax, Email and Call the Minister of Immigration

Abdelkader (“Kader”) Belaouni has now been in church sanctuary for one year. The church has become a prison to him as the government continues to stonewall his appeals for Permanent Resident status in Canada. It is very important at this time that government officials be reminded that Kader’s situation has not been resolved and that many individuals and organizations are actively supporting Kader’s struggle for status and are unhappy with the government’s lack of response.

== > FAX, EMAIL and CALL:

** Ms. DIANE FINLEY, Minister of Immigration. Ask her to use her discretionary power to grant Permanent Resident status to Kader without delay. Stress that it is unacceptable that Kader has already lost an entire year of his life. (A background and update are below and sample letters can be found on our website:

Diane Finley, Minister of Immigration and Citizenship Canada
Telephone: (613) 996-4974 Fax: (613) 996-9749 Email: minister at

** Ms. NATALINA RANAUDO, Inland Services, Immigration Canada. Let her know by phone that you are supporting status for Kader and send a copy of your fax and email to the Minister to her.

Natalina Ranaudo, Director of Inland Services Director, CIC Montreal
Telephone: (514) 283-0243 Fax: (514) 496-1881 Email: natalina.ranaudo at

** Mr. THIERRY ST-CYR, the Member of Parliament for Kader’s neighbourhood. Thierry St. Cyr already supports Kader. Let him know that you consider Kader’s struggle for status to be an important issue for the entire neighbourhood and ask him if there is more that he can do to ensure that Kader receives justice soon.

Thierry St. Cyr, Member of Parliament (Bloc), Jeanne-Le Ber Telephone: (514) 496-4885
Fax: (514) 496-8097 Email: St-Cyr.T at


On 1 January 2006 ? over one year ago – Kader entered church sanctuary in his own neighbourhood of Point St. Charles after his request to remain in Canada on humanitarian grounds was rejected by Immigration Canada.

The Ligue des droits et libertés (Quebec Civil Liberties Union) studied the refusal and concluded that its failure to consider the structural barriers that Kader, who is blind, faces in finding employment and accessing training programmes is discriminatory and a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Kader found himself about to be uprooted for the third time in his life; the first time, by the chaos and violence of Algeria’s civil war, the second time, by the racist hysteria of post September 11th United States. Instead of allowing his life to be torn up once again, Kader made a difficult decision to take a stand for dignity and justice by refusing Canada’s refusal. He felt he had no choice.

Kader has considerable support for his struggle. A group of five people are prepared to sponsor him. He has the active support of many organizations and individuals in his neighbourhood, including the Table de concertation Action Gardien (a coalition of community organizations), the community health clinic, the legal aid clinic of Point St. Charles and Little Burgundy, Saint Colomba House, and his Member of Parliament, Mr. Thierry St-Cyr. He also has the support of human rights organisations such as Amnesty International, the Committee to Aid Refugees, the Confederation of Organisations of Handicapped People in Quebec (COPHAN), and the Ligue des droits et libertés, as well as the Canadian Arab Federation (CAF). Several Members of Parliament, including the Chair of the Immigration Standing Committee, Mr. Norman Doyle (a Conservative member), and the Bloc and NDP immigration critics, have also lent their support. In all, over sixty organisations and hundreds of individuals have intervened with the Minister of Immigration in support of Kader’s claim: signing petitions; sending postcards; writing letters; participating in meetings with Parliamentarians, delegations to Ottawa, press conferences, and pickets; and organizing a community march.

But Minister Solberg, who was replaced by Diane Finley last week, never responded. Neither the Minister nor any delegate has ever been available to meet with Kader’s representatives. Instead, Kader received a second refusal from Immigration Canada, in another flawed decision involving several procedural irregularities. This may indicate that the current government is closing the door on sanctuary as a last resort for the many thousands who are fleeing the violence, oppression and impoverishment associated with global apartheid, to seek basic security, dignity and opportunity in Canada. Angela Portnoy and her family of 5, who have been in sanctuary in Newfoundland for over a year, have also seen their humanitarian application rejected in recent months. Another man, who had been in sanctuary in Toronto since 2004, was arrested outside church grounds in October 2006 and summarily deported.

Although Kader has tried to adapt to living full-time in a church, and is now broadcasting his own monthly radio show live from the church, giving Arabic lessons, taking piano lessons, learning massage therapy and beginning to use a blind-assisted computer, the days remain very long and he is eager for the freedom to return to full participation in his

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