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CAMPAIGN 31 WEEK 6

A Tale of Protection:
Is Mexico a safe country?
This weeks story is heartbreaking and, for those of us who live free from violence and fear, may sound like fiction. Unfortunately, millions of people today do live in fear, subject to the daily brutalities of oppressive governments or rulers. Even in so called safe countries, many are still discriminated against because of ethnicity, skin colour, sexual orientation, among other reasons. The new Bill C-31 suggests that people coming from countries arbitrarily designated by the Minister of Immigration and Citizenship as safe, do not deserve the complete refugee determination process and a chance at appeal. Carolina is a bright young girl who lives in Canada with her mother, Ms. Ramirez. Refused refugee claimants, they were accepted on Humanitarian and Compassioned grounds and are awaiting their permanent residency. A happy ending to a tragic life story? Due to complications in the pregnancy, Carmen had to visit a doctor. After the visit she was abducted. A few days later, Carmen was found dead with her baby taken out via caesarean section by the abductors. The babys whereabouts are still unknown. A month after Carmens death, her friend was also murdered and her mother and sister injured. Scared for their lives, Ms. Ramirez and Carolina fled to another city where they remained in hiding. However, the persecutors found them and attempted a kidnapping. Meanwhile a Canadian organization managed to convince the Canadian government that Ramirez family deserves Canadas protection and they were returned to Canada. So, is this a happy ending? You be the judge. Everything could have developed differently for the Ramirez family if they were accepted as refugees when they first came to Canada. However, the presumption they were coming from safe country had a devastating impact on their lives. A poor judgement tore apart the Ramirez family. Many people returned to Mexico as failed refugee claimants have also lost their lives. Under the new Bill C-31, refugee claimants from safe countries will have even less protection and safeguards, with fasttracked claims and lack of appeal. And, people from such countries will be deprived of the possibility to be admitted on humanitarian and companionate grounds. Carolina and her mother suffered terrible loss but they at least got a second chance to live in safety. How many people from safe countries have to die before the government understands that each refugee claimant has a right to and deserves a thorough and unbiased refugee determination process?

Carolina fled Mexico with her sister, Carmen, and mother because their father was killed by narco-traffickers. The familys refugee claim was rejected, as was their Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA). They were ordered to leave the country but, fearing for their lives, they did not comply with the decision and went in hiding. A few years later, Carmen went back to Mexico to be close to her dying grandmother. After the grandmother died, Carmen decided to stay and rebuild her life by studying and working in her hometown. However, a couple months after returning home, she was attacked, raped, beaten and threatened. As a result of the rape, Carmen became pregnant. Fearing for her life, she attempted several times to return to Canada but was sent back. Unable to find safety, she hid in friends house in the countryside. Soon, Ms. Ramirez and Carolina were also deported to Mexico where they joined Carmen.