Table de concertation des organismes au service des personnes refugés et immigrantes
16 June 2015
While the majority of decisions so far are positive, the organizations are aware of four cases in Montreal where the application was refused, even though there were strong humanitarian factors present. These individuals as a result face deportation to Haiti, where conditions are harsh.
While the decisions are discretionary, the decision-makers are nevertheless required to respect certain rules, particularly to take into consideration the best interests of an affected child, under both Canadian law and Canada's obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Officers must also take into account the persons establishment in Canada, especially if the person has been in Canada for some time because of a moratorium on removals. These rules appear not to have been respected in the cases refused, according to the information available on the 4 files, all involving Haitians.
Among the persons refused:
- persons with children, including Canadian-born children;
- persons who have been in Canada for many years (since 2007 in one case);
- a 65-year-old woman with adult children and grandchildren in Canada and no spouse or children in Haiti.
We repeatedly voiced concerns to the government that this special program was complex and left too much discretion in the hands of individual officers. Now we are seeing the dramatic impact on people who have set down strong roots in Canada said Loly Rico, CCR President. We hope the Canadian government will step in immediately to correct this situation and end the needless suffering of these families.
The situation in Haiti remains very difficult: women and girls are particularly at risk. Amnesty International remains seriously concerned at the high incidence of violence against women and girls.
The organizations call on the Canadian government to review the above-mentioned decisions and to take measures to ensure that all applications are reviewed in a humanitarian manner in accordance with the rules. They also repeat their longstanding recommendation to introduce a regularization program that enables all persons who have been under a temporary suspension of removals for three years to apply for permanent residence.
TCRI - Stephan Reichhold 514-791-2455 (cell) 514-272-6060 (ext. 203) Â firstname.lastname@example.org
Context of Haitian and Zimbabwean special measures
Analysis of decisions
- None of the decisions mentioned the applicants had received Quebec Selection Certificates, even though theÂ guidelines for the special programÂ instruct officers to do so.
- Little weight was given to the best interests of the children, even though, under Canadian and international law, this is to be given substantial weight in H & C decision-making. In one case, an officer simply stated that a Canadian-born child could adapt to life in Haiti because he is young and would be with his parents.
- No reference was made to the policy guideline to consider that Positive H & C consideration may be warranted where a person has become established in Canada over several years during a temporary suspension of removals (see The humanitarian and compassionate assessment Establishment in Canada).
- Officers did not provide applicants with an opportunity to provide allegedly missing documents (such as proof of legal status of a family member) but simply refused the application.
Conditions in Haiti
Crime rates are high and the security situation is unpredictable. Remain extremely vigilant wherever you are in the country. Criminal activity is especially prevalent in large centres such as downtown Port-au-Prince, where armed gangs continue to operate. There have been reports of murders, kidnappings, armed robbery, burglary and carjacking, even in daylight hours. Never walk alone and avoid travelling after nightfall. [...]
Members of the general Haitian population, regardless of rank or social class, are at risk of being kidnapped. [...] Most victims have been released upon the payment of a ransom. In some exceptional cases, however, victims have disappeared or have been killed.
See also, Amnesty International, Haiti: Submission to the UN Human Rights Committee: 112th Session of the UN Human Rights Committee, 7-31 October 2014, AMR 36/012/2014
- Taking into account that the applicant has become successfully established in Quebec, if a Quebec Selection Certificate has been issued;
- Giving substantial weight to the best interests of any child affected;
- Taking into account that suspensions on removals to Haiti and Zimbabwe were in effect for many years (since 2004 and 2002, respectively) leading to people becoming established in Canada due Â adverse conditions in their countries of origin;
- Taking into account that adverse country conditions still prevail in both Haiti and Zimbabwe;
- Offering applicants an opportunity to provide documents an officer considers to be missing.