Canada Supreme Court shall decide if US is safe for refugees

Supreme_Court_of_Canada Law InsiderSupreme_Court_of_Canada Law Insider

 Soni Satti

Nedira Mustefa, an Ethiopian woman who had lived in the United States since childhood but had no refugee rights, crossed the Canadian border in search of safety in early April 2017.

After Thirty hours of testimony, Canadian authorities turned their backs on her, citing a bilateral agreement that requires Canada to deport any asylum seekers who arrive at its border from the United States.

Mustefa characterised her detention at New York state correctional institution and one week in solitary confinement as “terrifying, isolating, and mentally traumatic.”

She said she was fed pork in violation of her Muslim faith, was unable to use covers during the day despite the bitter cold, and had little idea when she would be released.

To overturn the bilateral Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA), Her experience was used in a courtroom which human rights advocates identify as a violation of refugees’ rights as well as Canada’s own constitution, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

However, on Thursday, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled with the Canadian government and upheld the agreement, prompting the litigants to consider whether to petition the country’s supreme court to hear the dispute – and, in turn, determine whether the United States is a haven for refugees.

Justin Mohammed, a human rights law and reform campaigner at Amnesty International Canada, one of the organisations participating in the legal challenge, said, “We’re very disappointed.”

He added, “Unquestioningly, there are people who are being returned to the US who are being subject to serious human rights violations at the hands of the US authorities,”

Mohammed further stated that Amnesty and the other litigants are considering their next move, which may include filing an appeal with Canada’s Supreme Court.

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