Media Release

8 November 2005


Montreal. The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) today expressed its continuing concern that the security provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act violate the rights of innocent refugees and immigrants who in no way present a security threat.  The lawsuit being filed today by Suleyman Goven addresses a situation experienced by numerous refugees whose rights to due process, freedom of association and expression, equality and security of the person have not been respected by the Canadian Government, despite the guarantees of the Charter.

“The duty of the Canadian government to protect national security is no justification for keeping refugees in indefinite limbo when there is no objective evidence presented that they represent any threat to security,” said Janet Dench, CCR Executive Director.  "The government also has a duty to protect the rights of non-citizens – a duty that seems to be largely forgotten.”

Suleyman Goven is filing a lawsuit against the government of Canada for damages, arguing that his Constitutional rights have been violated.  Recognized by Canada as a Convention Refugee, he has been denied permanent residence for over 12 years because of investigations into allegations that he may be ineligible under the immigration legislation’s security inadmissibility provisions.

The CCR contests the very broad definition of security inadmissibility (the same definition that is used in the highly controversial security certificates).  The definition is so broad that it covers people who are not even alleged to represent any security threat and who have no direct association with terrorism.  It is applied in an arbitrary and discriminatory manner (for example, it is not applied to George W. Bush and Tony Blair, despite the fact that they clearly fall within the definition, but it is applied routinely to Arabs and Muslims, among other groups, in some cases even when there is little evidence that they fall within the definition.)   The government does not need to prove its case against an individual, but only show that there are “reasonable grounds to believe” the allegations.  There is no requirement to make a decision within a reasonable period of time, meaning that people can be forced to wait indefinitely simply on the basis of allegations without any decision being made.

The Canadian Council for Refugees has outlined the problems with the security provisions in the immigration legislation in a report, Refugees and Security, published in February 2003.  It is available at

Contact:            Janet Dench, Executive Director, tel. (514) 277-7223 ext. 2