Refugee Rights and Wrongs: From Persecution in Sri Lanka to Detention in Canada

Posted by admin on Nov 1st, 2009

Thursday November 12, 6-9 pm. SFU Harbour Centre, Rm 1315. 515 West Hastings St, Vancouver

Concerned about the rise of racist, anti-immigrant sentiments since the recent arrival of 76 Tamil refugees on Vancouver shores? Unsure about what’s going on in Sri Lanka and the connections of the Canadian government to the war abroad? Curious about the ongoing changes Jason Kenney has been making to Canada’s immigration system? No One is Illegal-Vancouver invites you to an informative discussion regarding The Ocean Lady and its consequences for those concerned with migrant justice in Canada.

Join us as a panel of advocates, researchers, and community activists discuss the current context of war in Sri Lanka, the latest in the Conservative government’s systematic attack on migrant rights, and popular myths and realities about the Canadian immigration system and international migration policy. Come and share your thoughts as we discuss the media coverage of the detention of the 76 Tamil Migrants and strategize alternate ways to talk about the issues that really matter.

At a time when attacks on Indigenous, migrant, and racialized communities both locally and globally are widespread and increasing; in the context of the ongoing War of Terror and repressive “anti-terrorist” legislation; and in a city preparing for one of the most destructive displays of corporate greed and land exploitation imaginable, the 2010 Olympics; these conversations are more urgent than ever. We look forward to holding them together.

Fathima Cader, Law Students of Colour United
Peggy Lee, Human Rights Advocate
Mariana Payet, Jason Kenney Watchdog
Facilitated by: Proma Tagore, No One is Illegal-Vancouver


* For more information on Kenney and the Fire Kenney Campaign:

* NOII-Van Press Release: Uphold the Rights of 76 Migrants Aboard Ocean

Surviving a long and arduous journey, 76 Tamil migrants are currently being detained and imprisoned after arriving on Vancouver shores. 75 remain in detention, with minimal access to community and legal support in contravention of their basic human rights, while Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney perpetuates false and dehumanizing stereotypes of asylum-seekers as ‘illegals’, ‘criminals’, and so-called queue jumpers.

During his time in office, Jason Kenney has escalated the targeting of immigrants and refugees through increased detentions and deportations, consistently inflammatory and racist remarks, cutting funding from immigrant service organizations, and overseeing the largest immigration raid in recent Canadian history.

In the last six months alone Kenney has increased already-restrictive immigration regulations through the creation of new visa requirements, specifically targeting refugees from Mexico and the Czech Republic. His annual report to Parliament shows a decreaing ‘target’ – over 11,000 people – in the number of accepted asylum seekers and sponsored family members. Just this week, his proposed regulations to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program has been widely condemned for refusing to address the structural inequalities of such wage-slave labour programs, while punishing workers for employer and government abuses.

Now, Kenney is linking the recent arrival of 76 Tamil migrants on BC shores to broader anti-immigrant hysteria by criminalizing their actions and presenting all migrants as possible security threats. This public fear-mongering is just another tactic to disguise the racist policies that define the history and ongoing realities of Canada’s immigration system.

In face of Kenney’s repressive tactics, No One is Illegal-Vancouver asserts the basic human right to safety, mobility, and protection. We continue to call for the immediate release of all the remaining detainees and demand their collective right to stay in Canada in peace and dignity. Status for All!

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