Vigil to oppose deportation of Manuel Sanchez: tonight
Queer refugee rights group AGIR and its allies will host a vigil tonight in support of a Montréal man whose application for refugee status has been denied. Manuel Sanchez, who fears he will be targeted by police upon his return to Mexico, could be deported tomorrow (June 20) unless Immigration Minister Jason Kenney intervenes.
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As the ominous Bill C-31 heads for its third and final reading in the Senate, the effects of the federal government’s restrictions on refugee status claims are already getting tougher. A vigil to oppose the immanent deportation of one Manuel Sanchez is being help tonight, June 19, at 6pm in front of Montéal’s Guy Favreau building.
Gay refugee Manuel Sanchez applied for refugee status on December 14, 2008, but his refugee claim and subsequent recourses to remain in Canada have rejected. Following the refusal of his request for stay of deportation via the federal court last week Tuesday, Canada will deport Manuel this Wednesday, June 20. His application was based on having been targeted by police harassment after ending a relationship with a male police officer who physically and sexually assaulted him. Having seen his complaints against the police officer met with threats to himself and his friends, Sanchez sought refuge here. The officer in question is believed to have links to organized crime.
“We denounce the decision of the Canadian government to proceed with the deportation of gay refugee Mr. Manuel Sanchez, and we request that Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney intervene and use his discretionary powers to provide Manuel with permanent residency status,” organizers of tonight’s vigil stated in their press release today. “We invite you to show your support for Manuel and stand in solidarity with his struggle to stop an imminent deportation.”
For AGIR and refugee rights group Mexicans United for Regularization, (MUR) Mr Sanchez’s case highlights the current obstacles facing LGBT refugees within Canada’s refugee system. When Bill C-31 becomes law, “the situation will only get worse, not only for LGBT refugees, but for all refugee claimants from Mexico,” the contend.
Bill C-31 has been strongly criticized by immigrant advocacy groups and others for contravening the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canada’s international obligations, including the Geneva Convention and the Convention for the Rights of the Child. “In the face of this reality, we raise the serious question as to whether the government has decided to prioritize their free trade agreement with Mexico rather than respecting fundamental human rights,” the group’s statement reads. “We must not forget that since 2009, two Mexican women, who were refused asylum in Canada were assassinated upon their return to Mexico,” AGIR and MUR state, fearing that Mr Sanchez may face the same fate.
Sanchez’s fight for refugee status and permanent residency is even being supported by NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, as well as by local groups Mexicains united for regularisation (MUR), Action LGBTQ with immigrants et refugees (AGIR), Action Santé Travesti(e)s et Transsexuel(le)s du Québec (ASTT(e)Q), Conseil Québécois des Gais et Lesbiennes (CQGL), Dignidad migrante et GLAM: Gay and Lesbian Asians Montréal.
Vigil to stop the deportation of Manuel Sanchez
Tuesday, June 19, 2012 (6pm)
In front of Complexe Guy-Favreau, 200 boul. René Lévesque West
Banner photo via: No One is Illegal