The Canadian Council
of Churches

Media Advisory: Court and Parliament to hear Safe Third Country Challenge

1 February 2007 -- During the week of February 5, the Federal Court of Canada and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration will hear arguments as to why the United States should not be considered a “safe third country” for refugees. 

On February 5 at 9:30 am, arguments will be presented by legal counsel for the Canadian Council for Refugees, Amnesty International and the Canadian Council of Churches.  These groups will argue that the US does not respect its obligations under the Convention Against Torture and the Refugee Convention. 

The Federal Court will hear about barriers faced by refugees in the U.S. such as:

All of these factors contribute to the likelihood that a person will be removed from the United States to a country where they are at risk of persecution or torture.  By closing its doors on such a person, Canada becomes complicit in the person’s return to harm.

On February 8, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration will hear from US experts that the U.S. fails to protect all refugees.  Deborah Anker, Clinical Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, along with numerous other US refugee experts, have submitted evidence in the safe third country legal challenge.

“The Harvard Law School conducted a study which found that the [Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement] not only fails to accomplish its stated goal of securing the Canada/U.S. border, but makes the border less secure, endangering the lives of refugee claimants and threatening the security of the United States and Canada,” said Ms. Anker.

When:             1) Toronto - Monday 5 February, 9:30 am
What:              Federal Court Hearing on Safe Third Country legal challenge
Where:            Federal Court, 180 Queen Street West, Toronto ON

When:             2) Ottawa - Thursday 8 February, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
What:              Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration
Where:            209 West Block, Parliament Hill

For further information, see:

To book one-on-ones with the presenters and spokespersons and for further information, please contact:
Colleen French, Communications Coordinator, Canadian Council for Refugees, (514) 277-7223, ext. 1
Beth Berton-Hunter, Media Officer, Amnesty International (416) 363-9933 ext 32, cell (416) 904-7158