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Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 5.14 GMT

Canada to tighten refugee rules

Legislation to target 'bogus' claimants, block appeals of people from 'safe' countries


The Canadian government is expected to announce further changes to Canada's immigration system.

CBC News reports Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney plans to announce legislation to further strengthen barriers against what the Canadian government considers to be "bogus" refugee claimants coming from countries where they face no real risk or persecution.

“Canada’s asylum system is broken,” Mr. Kenney said.

Last October in 2010, a ship carrying 76 Sri Lankan migrants was intercepted in Canadian waters after crossing the Pacific from Sri Lanka.

However, the UN Refugee Agency in a report titled 'Eligibility Guidelines for Assessing the International Protection Needs of Asylum-Seekers from Sri Lanka' said human rights and security situation in Sri Lanka has improved.

'In light of the improved human rights and security situation in Sri Lanka, there is no longer a need for group-based protection mechanisms or for a presumption of eligibility for Sri Lankans of Tamil ethnicity originating from the North of the country', UNHCR report stated.

Canada is home to about 300,000 Tamils, one of the largest such populations outside Sri Lanka and India.

"It's important to send a message that Canada should not be viewed as an easy entry into North America and that we are very concerned about security issues," Canadian Public Safety Minister, Vic Toews said.

Among other things, it's expected the legislation, if passed, would block an appeal route for refugee claimants coming from countries the Canadian government has designated as "safe," and eliminate a committee of experts that was to advise the government on which countries to place on that list, said in a recent article in Ottawa Citizen.





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Last modified: February 21, 2012.

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