WATCH: Trudeau defends asylum and refugee system, says Canada seeing higher numbers due to global instability
A group of civil-society and legal organizations is asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to withdraw changes to asylum laws included in a Liberal budget bill tabled this week, calling them harsh and unnecessary.
Amnesty International, the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, the Canadian and B.C. civil-liberties associations and the Canadian Council for Refugees have written a joint letter to Trudeau saying the proposed legal changes would strip crucial and hard-won human-rights protections from vulnerable refugees.
“These cases involve incredibly high stakes for the claimants, including questions of persecution and torture, of being able to live life freely in accordance with one’s identity and culture with protection for fundamental human rights and even questions of life and death,” states the letter.
“That is why Canada has long ensured that refugee claims are determined in a fair hearing before an independent tribunal.”
The changes would prevent asylum-seekers from making refugee claims in Canada if they have made similar claims in certain other countries, namely the United States — a move Border Security Minister Bill Blair says is aimed at preventing “asylum-shopping.”