Want to advocate for the rights of refugee in Canada?
With our latest report, Reclaiming Protection, CPJ amplifies the call for an overhaul to the Safe Third Country Agreement, a policy that allows the Canada Border Services Agency to return refugee claimants to the U.S. The agreement is based on the idea that refugees should make their claim in the first "safe" country in which they arrive, but under the current U.S. Administration, there is much reason to believe that the U.S. is not a safe place for refugees.
Including first-hand accounts from refugee claimants, this resource calls people in Canada to ask the government to uphold the rights of refugees and:
Some Members of Parliament have described refugee claimants as "illegals," which has served to create public discord and unwarranted fear. This has also created a public narrative that falsely conflates seeking refugee protection with criminality. Considering the platforms of these individuals, it is paramount that they not spread misinformation about such a vulnerable population.
Because of the Safe Third Country Agreement, only refugee claimants that meet a narrow set of exceptions can make a claim at an official border point. As a result, a majority of claimants have no choice but to enter Canada between Ports of Entry in order to apply for protection, often at great risk to themselves. By allowing refugee claimants to make their claims directly at the border, Canada can restore a sense of safety and dignity for refugees.
By rescinding the STCA, Canada will allow refugees from the U.S. to once again have access to protection in Canada. This will greatly reduce irregular border crossings, restore public confidence in Canada’s refugee system, and uphold the rights of each individual refugee. Considering the more than 25.4 million refugees around the world today, Canada must do its part to respond to growing global demands for refugee protection.