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Stop Canada’s Deportation of a Young Lesbian
Friends and supporters of Rainbow Refugee, we need your help TODAY. Canada is preparing to deport a young lesbian to Cameroon, a country where she faces extremely high risk of vigilante violence, arrest and extreme police abuse. BACKGROUND Angela was 18 at the time of her hearing, still dealing with past trauma and very anxious. She broke down completely under aggressive questioning by both a Minister’s Representative and the Immigration Refugee Board (IRB). She received a negative decision and was denied access to an appeal. Our only avenue was a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRAA). Unfortunately, the PRRA is a poor safety net. PRRA officers do not have legal training or the level of training on evaluating persecution that IRB officers have. The PRRA officer disregarded new evidence in Angela’s case and simply repeated the original decision. This is fairly common. Finally, even though Angela’s lawyer has good legal grounds to appeal the PRRA, there is nothing to prevent Angela’s deportation before the Federal Court decision. She is scheduled for removal on this Friday, January 26th. It is wrong that a young woman who has survived trauma be subjected to hours of aggressive questioning. It is wrong that Angela never had the opportunity for a proper appeal. It is wrong that one man can decide he doesn’t believe a woman is a lesbian based on a review of documents and a few hours of testimony, and another man can uphold his decision while ignoring the perspectives of those of us who know Angela best. Those of us who have known Angela for three years—including her counsellor at Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture (VAST), friends and volunteers at Rainbow Refugee—know that Angela identifies and lives as a lesbian here in Canada. She married her same-sex partner in October. Angela and her wife want to plan a future together in Canada. That future is on hold and we are all gravely concerned for her life. We believe a mistake has been made and Canada risks sending a young woman to her death if a stay is not granted. Cameroon is currently a country in which there are no human rights protections for homosexuality, in fact being gay in Cameroon is criminalized and punishable by imprisonment, and LGBTQ activists and citizens have been tortured and murdered on that basis.