let them stay: our latest victory

The recent federal court decision in Kim Rivera's case, granting the Riveras leave to appeal the negative decision in their Pre-Removal Risk Assessment, gives the family several more months in Canada, and a new legal avenue on which to fight.

It also demonstrates - yet again - that the IRB and the Ministry of Immigration are not properly considering all the evidence in the war resister cases. And how could they be expected to, when the head of that agency, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney, has made his animosity towards these cases a matter of public record? Every refugee case is supposed to be decided on its own merits. But how can we expect impartiality, when the Minister of Immigration - the IRB's boss - has declared all the cases "bogus"?

We are still waiting for a decision in Jeremy Hinzman's case, the hearing I blogged about here, appealing the negative decision in the family's Humanitarian and Compassionate application. Patrick Hart and his family are still at imminent risk. Dean Walcott's deferral of removal will expire. And we have another important court case coming up in late May, for war resister Dale Landry.

I am increasingly hopeful about the federal court cases, but each one is time-consuming, nerve-wracking - and expensive. The government is hoping to wear us down by attrition. We won't give up - but there is a better way.

Here's the recent media release from the War Resisters Support Campaign.
On Tuesday afternoon the Federal Court of Canada granted Kimberly Rivera leave to appeal the decision in her Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA). The Federal Court will hear the appeal on July 8.

The War Resisters Support Campaign is renewing its call on the federal government to implement the motion that was passed by Parliament on June 3, 2008 and again on March 30, 2009.

"Regardless of Jason Kenney's personal animosity toward those who've refused to fight George W. Bush's war in Iraq, the majority of Canadians want these war resisters to stay in Canada," said Michelle Robidoux. "Parliament has voted twice to let them stay and if Stephen Harper were committed to fairness and justice like most Canadians, he'd implement the vote of Parliament today."

Kimberly Rivera is the first female Iraq War resister to seek refuge in Canada. Kimberly, along with her partner Mario, son Christian (7 years old) and daughter Rebecca (4 years old), fled to Canada in January 2007 when Kimberly refused redeployment. In late November 2008 Kimberly gave birth to her Canadian daughter Katie (5 months old). She served in Iraq in 2006 and experienced, firsthand, the reality of this illegal war.

"I want to stay in Canada, with my family, because the Iraq War is immoral, illegal and I couldn't in good conscience go back," said Kimberly Rivera. "The amount of support I'm getting from Canadians is amazing. The parents of my kids' friends, MPs and even strangers on the street keep telling me that they can't believe the votes in Parliament aren't being respected."

Last June, a public opinion poll conducted by Angus Reid Strategies found widespread approval for the House of Commons’ vote in support of war resisters. Sixty-four per cent of Canadians, and a majority of voters in every region of the country, agree that the federal government should immediately stop the deportation of Iraq War resisters and establish a program to facilitate their requests for permanent resident status.

Toronto Star story here.

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