Saturday, November 27, 2004

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Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada
CIC National Headquarters
365 Laurier, Jean Edmonds South Tower,
21st Floor
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1L1
Fax: (613) 947-8319
Phone: (613) 954-1064


Honourable Judy Sgro,

AHMAD NAFAA has been detained by Canada’s Border Services Agency. His deportation is imminent. We, therefore, respectfully request that, as Citizenship and Immigration Minister, you immediately order a stay of removal, thereby suspending Mr. Nafaa’s deportation until his application on compassionate and humanitarian grounds can been considered.

Though the general control and supervision of enforcement and removals has been transferred to the portfolio of the Solicitor General, it remains at the discretion of Immigration Officers to issue a stay of removal. The Officers of Citizenship and Immigration Canada being possessed of the authority to issue a stay of removal, we espectfully request that this authority be exercised immediately with respect to Ahmad Nafaa.

Mr. Nafaa was born a stateless Palestinian in Ein El-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon. Fear, poverty and persecution are daily facts of life in the Ein El-Hilweh camp, and the present and future are grim for resident Palestinians. They are banned from an ever-expanding number of trades and professions. Unemployment among them, as a result, is extremely high. Poverty rates are also astronomical. The restrictions on new construction within the camp means its residents are forced to live in dilapidated, hopelessly abject housing. All these factors lead to a situation so bleak for Palestinians that suicide in the camp is an everyday tragedy.

After 20 years in the camp and suffering its endemic racism, discrimination, fear, violence and poverty, Mr. Nafaa fled Lebanon and claimed refugee status in Canada. His claim was denied on February 20, 2002. On the other hand, his brother Mohammad's refugee claim, heard by a different member of the refugee board, was accepted.

Since arriving in Canada, Mr. Nafaa has become fully integrated in Canadian and Quebec society. He has been reunited with his brother, and they have renewed their close family ties. Mr. Nafaa currently works full-time in a restaurant and is a self-sufficient and contributing member of his community. He dreams of returning to school and finishing the nursing degree he began in Lebanon. After suffering for so many years as a refugee, his greatest desire is to alleviate the suffering of others. In every sense, Mr. Nafaa has found a home in Canada.

Ahmad Nafaa now faces deportation to the refugee camps of Lebanon, where the conditions faced by Palestinians are dangerous, degrading and, beyond dispute, in clear violation of international law. This situation,
over half-a-century old, is directly related to the statelessness of Palestinians. Because of their unique situation, Palestinians have been denied not only rights accorded ordinary citizens but also genuine access to the international system for the protection of refugees. The fact that Mr. Nafaa’s immediate deportation would be to the United States does not materially affect his plight. Eventual deportation to his country of origin is virtually automatic.

In signing the United Nations Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness in 1978, the government of Canada championed the cause of stateless refugees. If Canada returns Mr. Nafaa to Lebanon, it would be abdicating that noble responsibility. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration must therefore act now and order a stay of removal for Ahmad Nafaa pursuant to s. 50(e) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. We thank you for your attention and efforts in this urgent matter,



- Office of the Prime Minister of Canada:, Fax: 613-941-6900

- Michel Dorais, Deputy Minister CIC: Fax: (613) 954-3509 or (613) 954-5448
- René D'Aoust: Director Investigation & Removal: Phone: (514) 496-1238, Fax: (514) 496-1882
- Monique Leclair, Director General: CIC QC Regional Office: Fax: (514) 496-3976
- Andrew Telegdi, P.C. (Chair of Standing Committee on Citizenship & Immigration):
- Bill Siksay, MP (NDP - Immigration):
- Meili Faille, MP (Bloc Québécois - Immigration):

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