Release: Rally to Scrap Anti-Migrant Bill C49 and Demand Release of Detained Tamil Asylum Seekers, Held for Three Months

Posted by admin on Nov 25th, 2010

November 25, 2010 Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories – The immigrant and refugee rights group No One Is Illegal is organizing a demonstration on Saturday November 27th at 1 pm at the Vancouver Public Library to demand the immediate scrapping of the Conservative government’s Bill C-49. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and Minister of Censorship and Deportation Jason Kenney introduced Bill C49 under the banner of combating “human smuggling”. Asylum seekers, including children, suspected of using a smuggler will be subject to mandatory detention for at least the first year after arrival, with no chance of a detention review. They will not have the right to appeal a negative refugee decision and will be denied access to health coverage. They will be prohibited from obtaining permanent residency and from sponsoring family members for a period of five years even after obtaining refugee status, during which time their status could be revoked.

“This is a bill that blatantly criminalizes refugees and targets them for imprisonment and deportation. By today’s standards, Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad would have been considered a human smuggling operation!” says Indri Pasaribu of No One Is Illegal. “This bill is the latest in a series of legislative changes that are further entrenching racist hierarchies in Canadian immigration policy.”

Under the slogan of “Three Months Too Many!” the group is further demanding the immediate release of the detained Tamil asylum seekers who arrived aboard MV Sun Sea over three months ago. According to Magin Payet Scudalleri, a member of No One Is Illegal, “The Canadian government is relying on catch-phrase like smuggling and crime and terrorism to fear-monger and justify their violent incarceration of asylum-seekers. The over 400 migrants who continue to remain behind bars for the past three months have survived military atrocities in Sri Lanka as well as a long and arduous journey to get here. We believe they should be welcomed and released from detention immediately.”

For the past ten weeks the group has organized weekly support demonstrations outside the Burnaby Youth Detention Centre, where refugee mothers and children are being locked up. “Every week we see young children waving through the bars, eager for contact with the outside world. These children are as young as 3-4 years old. The fact that they are being jailed is not only heart-breaking, it is atrocious,” states Fathima Cadre, a Sri Lankan law student and member of No One Is Illegal. For photos from weekly rallies, visit

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