Feb 2005- Deportations Stayed for Vegas and Ayoubs in Sanctuary

Posted by admin on Feb 27th, 2005

Vega Family Free and And Ayoub family Free at Last. Press releases from Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition and Coalition against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugess below.

THE INTERFAITH SANCTUARY COALITION Press Conference on Monday, February 14 for the Liberation of the Vega Family after 19 Months in Sanctuary . Montreal , February 13, 2005 – Alvaro, Mireya and Marcela Vega are free at long last. The Colombian couple and their daughter, who have been in Sanctuary in Montreal’s St. Andrew’s-Norwood United Church since July 17, 2003, have received a positive decision from Immigration Canada on their application for permanent residence based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. They can now leave the church basement that has been their home, without fear of deportation to Colombia. Rev. Rosemary Lambie-Bromby of the United Church expressed her delight with this decision, noting however that it is “very unfortunate that the family had to be in sanctuary 567 days before the cries of the people were taken seriously”.

This is the second of three Montreal sanctuary cases to be resolved recently, following the release of the Ayele family in December 2004. Though the Vegas, along with their supporters, celebrate their newfound freedom, they hope for a similar resolution to the case of the Ayoub family of three elderly Palestinians, living in sanctuary in an NDG Roman Catholic Church for the past year.

The Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition also calls for the immediate return to Canada of Mohamed Cherfi, who was forcibly removed from sanctuary in a Quebec City church and handed over to U.S. authorities last year. Mr. Cherfi is awaiting final approval of a group sponsorship which would allow him to return to Canada. If it is not approved immediately, he could face deportation to Algeria – where he faces the risk of torture – any time after February 15th. This was the first case ever in which Canadian officials violated the principle of sanctuary.

The Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition is an umbrella group of more than 40 church, human rights, labour, refugee and other groups as well as individuals that have come together to support the individuals and families currently in sanctuary in Canada. The Coalition also supports the implementation of a right of appeal for refused refugee claimants so that decision-making errors can be corrected without the need for sanctuary.


AYOUB Family Liberated!
The Struggle Against PALESTINIAN DEPORTATIONS Continues

Montreal, Monday, February 27th, 2005 — After taking sanctuary at the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce church in Montreal more than one-year ago, the Ayoub family – Khalil Ayoub, 67, Nabih Ayoub, 69 and Thérèse Boulos Haddad, 62 – have won their battle to remain in Canada. This past Sunday, after the church service at the congregation of the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce church, the Palestinian Refugee Support Committee of the Notre-Dame de Grace Church publicly declared the news of the Ayoub families’ acceptance, to a cheering congregation and supporters from the Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees who had gathered at the church.

In the context of this concrete victory, the Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees stresses the importance of continuing to build public support and solidarity with ongoing struggle of more-than 100 Palestinian refugees, who continue to face deportation from Canada. The Ayoub family’s victory brings a sense of hope and inspiration to the ongoing struggle of these Palestinian refugees against the crisis of deportation in their community created by the policies of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

The Ayoub family, whose Application for Permanent Residence on
Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds in Canada has been officially accepted by CIC, will continue to live at the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce church for the near future. They must now attempt to piece back-together their lives in Montreal, which were torn-apart when Immigration Canada issued a deportation order for the family in January 2004. It was more than one-year ago that the Ayoub family publicly announced to the people of Montreal, Canada and the world their decision to defy the deportation order issued by CIC. Under imminent threat of deportation to a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, the Ayoub family were forced to take sanctuary. During the year the family spent in sanctuary, they became a living symbol of the ongoing struggle against Palestinian deportations from Canada.

Today, more than 100 Palestinian refugees in Canada face imminent deportation. Like the Ayoub family, most of the refugees are from the refugee camps of Lebanon and many are also from the Occupied Territories. Their claims for refugee status in Canada have been systematically rejected in recent years and have fallen subject to CIC draconian policies of detention and deportation. As the Ayoub families’ declares victory in their struggle against deportation and for status in Canada, the Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees, has outlined various ways in which people can concretely support the ongoing fight against Palestinian deportations. Your solidarity and support for this struggle is needed more now than ever, given that there are Palestinian refugees who continue to face immanent deportation within the coming months.

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