Episode #71: Refugee Rights Day in Canada, A Crucial Moment
On April 4 we commemorate Refugee Rights Day in Canada. It is an opportunity to bring attention to the advances made in the protection of refugee rights in this country, but also a time to learn about the threats to those rights.
This year, the occasion is especially significant, due to the agreement just reached by Canada and the United States to expand the Safe Third Country Agreement, or STCA.
On March 24, U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced important changes to the STCA, an agreement that was first signed in 2002, came into effect in 2004, and originally meant that asylum seekers crossing into either Canada or the United States at formal border crossings were turned back and told to apply for asylum in the first “safe” country they arrived in.
The deal announced last month means that now the Agreement applies to the entire land US-Canada border, and allows both countries to turn back asylum seekers not only at formal border crossings, but also at unofficial crossings. It’s a change that has aroused great concern among organizations working with refugees and immigrants.
Joining us today to give us some context about this changes, and to talk about how they’re already affecting refugees, is Diana Gallego, Senior Director of the FCJ Refugee Centre.