[Stop-traffic] News/Canada: Chinese migrant children spared deportation

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/Canada: Chinese migrant children spared deportation
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Wed Jan 10 2001 - 08:33:09 EST


Chinese migrant children spared deportation
By Finbarr O'Reilly
National Post (Canada), December 21, 2000

The Federal Court of Canada has prevented the deportation of nine Chinese
immigrant children because they could be persecuted by being "trafficked"
again by their parents and human smugglers.

The children, who were between the ages of 13 and 18 when they arrived in
leaky boats off the coast of British Columbia with about 600 illegal
migrants during the summer of 1999, applied for refugee status. Their
parents were not among the group, but they likely paid smugglers in China a
fee of about $40,000 so that the children could flee.

The childrens' refugee claims were rejected by the Immigration and Refugee
Board (IRB) in February, but in a recent ruling the Federal Court in
Vancouver overturned that decision.

"The [children] were members of a 'particular social group,' [and this]
warranted more serious consideration and analysis than was provided by the
[IRB]," wrote Justice Frederick Gibson. "As members of a particular social
group so defined, [their lawyers] urged that the children were persecuted
by virtue of their being 'trafficked' on the basis of arrangements made
between their parents and human smugglers ... I accept without reservation
that argument."

Canada's Immigration Act protects refugees from deportation when they face
a reasonable chance of prosecution based on race, religion, nationality,
political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Gender and
sexual orientation, for example, fall under the last category.

While children have been identified as a particular social group in
previous IRB cases, one of the children's Vancouver lawyers, Warren
Puddicombe, said it may be the first time such a distinction has been made
at the Federal Court level.

"The finding was squarely addressed to whether the IRB ignored our argument
that the children were from a particular social group," said Mr. Puddicombe.

While Judge Gibson sent the children's cases back for review, he rejected
the applications for judicial review of Xing Kang Chen, a 39-year-old man,
and Yang Hua, a woman whose age was not revealed in court documents. Both
applied for refugee status on the grounds they were persecuted under
China's one-child policy, the documents show.

Ms. Hua claimed she had been forced into having an abortion in the eighth
month of her second pregnancy. Mr. Chen claimed he had been forcibly
sterilized after having three children. In both cases, the testimony was
deemed unreliable by the IRB and the judge supported its finding.

Since 599 Chinese immigrants arrived in 1999, 310 have been deported, 24
have been granted refugee status and 29 are still in detention, according
to a spokesperson for Citizenship and Immigration. Of the 191 who were
released, 151 have disappeared and there are warrants out for their arrest.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Two of the rulings discussed above are at:

http://www.fja.gc.ca/en/cf/2000/orig/html/2000fca27826.o.en.html
http://www.fja.gc.ca/en/cf/2000/orig/html/2000fca27825.o.en.html

Melanie Orhant
Stop-Traffic Moderator

Please contact me off-list for any questions about Stop-Traffic at
<<morhant@igc.org>>.

Women's Reproductive Health Initiative
Program for Appropriate Technology in Health
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Stop-Traffic is an open, facilitated, international electronic list
funded by the Women's Reproductive Health Initiative of the Program
for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) that addresses human
rights abuses associated with trafficking in persons, with a strong
emphasis on public health. The focus of Stop-Traffic is the
trafficking in persons into sweatshop labor, domestic servitude,
forced prostitution, forced agricultural labor and coercive
mail-order bride arrangements. Trafficking in people for forced
labor is an ever-growing worldwide phenomena that affects the health
and well-being of millions of women, men and children.
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