Rwandans blast deportation plan

Posted by admin on Jul 25th, 2009

25th July 2009, Edmonton Sun

Rwandans living in Canada say they’re shocked by the federal government’s decision to resume deporting people to their troubled homeland. They say Rwanda is still a dangerous country and those deported from Canada could be in danger. “It’s absurd,” said Viateur Mbonyumuvunyi of the Canada-Rwanda Friendship group. “Attacks have never really stopped.” Mbonyumuvunyi said people continue to disappear and the Rwandan government is a threat to the people.

Faustin Nsabimana of the Assemblee Rwandaise de Montreal said Rwanda is still so dangerous that courts around the world are refusing requests to extradite those accused of participating in 1994’s genocidal massacre.

The Canadian government announced Thursday it will resume deporting failed refugee claimants to three African nations — Rwanda, Liberia and Burundi.

Amnesty International’s 2008 report on Rwanda cited cases of human rights abuses, imprisonment without trial and people disappearing.

Canada’s foreign affairs department advises Canadians against non-essential travel to Burundi and Liberia, and to be cautious when travelling to Rwanda.

For years, Canada has had a moratorium on deporting people to those countries because they were considered too dangerous.

However, the government says the situation has improved and it is now safe to send people back.

The measure could affect an estimated 2,100 people currently in Canada. An estimated 960 come from Rwanda, 935 from Burundi and 185 from Liberia.

Of that number, 795 had already been refused as refugees, but weren’t deported because of the moratorium — 400 of them from Rwanda, 325 from Burundi and 70 from Liberia.

Since some of the people affected by the decision have been in Canada for more than a decade, the government is giving them until Jan. 23, 2010, to apply for permanent resident status on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. If they don’t, they risk being deported.

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