The Globe and Mail asked the government for holding an inquiry into the Arar case in its November 5 editorial. It is a good idea, but unfortunately its lack of concern for non-citizens’ suffering at the hands of Canadian government makes it hollow at its core.
We need to ask, is this inquiry necessary just because Mr. Arar is a Canadian citizen or such an inquiry needs extension to cover all those cases where other human beings also directly suffer due to one or another policy of the Canadian government?
Is citizenship alone the core principle for demanding justice? As a matter of principle, the inquiry is not necessary because Mr. Arar is a Canadian citizen. It is required because he is a human being, who is treated inhumanly.
If we demand inquiry with the spirit of humanity rather than citizenship alone, we will come to realise that there are many others who are pushed into the hands of the same tyrants by the Canadian government on almost daily basis. We are, however, silent because the victims are not Canadian citizens –” so much so for our sense of humanity and justice.
Issuing deportation orders in cases where the government fully knows that the deported persons would end up in the hands of one or another tyrant is nothing less than intentionally dispatching non-citizen human beings to the horrible graves that Mr. Arar has described in detail for opening our eyes.
We must request the Canadian government that besides holding an inquiry into Arar case alone, it should take concrete steps to save many other human beings –” regardless of their nationality –” from facing such inhumanity.
There are thousands upon thousands refugees who have obtained protection in Canada through chicanery and deceit, and who can be exposed with very little effort on part of the government. At the same time, there are individuals who are the real victims of oppression abroad but are either on deportation-row or have already been despatched to face circumstances worse than they left behind when they came to seek protection in Canada.
We must also request the Canadian government to bring some sanity into the way IRB deals refugee cases. Different IRB judges’ dealing similar cases in different manners is a sign not only of standardlessness but also sheer injustice.
This is not a standard that one IRB judge accepts almost 99 per cent applicants for refugee status and another rejects cases with the same percentage. If this is the standard, where is justice? If this is justice, we better drop a tear for its standards.
Activists for the rights of Canadian citizens as well as who are engaged on behalf of refugees need to focus on multiple standards of IRB because immigration officials follow decisions made by the IRB judges. Although the Refugee Board is an extension of Immigration department and immigration officials have the authority to suspend any refugee’s hearing before the Refugee Board. Nevertheless, immigration needs a rejection of a case by the IRB before they put him on plane to meet his fate at the hands of one or another tyrant.
When someone such as Mr. Arar ends up in the isolation cells of these tyrants, it matters little if he is a Canadian or not. All are equal human beings facing horrible consequences for one or another contrived reason. The label of citizenship should not hold us from saving human being from falling victims to such inhuman treatments.
Those who suffer in countries such as Syria, Pakistan, Palestine, Algeria, etc., are out side the direct hold of Canadian government. However, the victims of oppression who some how manage to seek refuge in Canada need not be thrown to wolves in an unjust manner. It makes the Canadian government a partner in the crimes of various dictators against humanity.
From my experience of living as a refugee in Canada for close to one year, I have come to the conclusion that the IRB needs serious reforms. The reason is that for every single citizen that suffers abroad, there are dozens of non-citizens that directly suffer far more seriously due to lack of concern by the Canadian government.
Unless IRB is established with the purpose to screen and pick only those applicants who could be productive for Canada, we hope the Canadian government would pay serious attention to the plight of those who really deserve protection. At the same time, it needs to weed out those who are manipulating good intentions and exploiting a system designed for giving protection to those who are facing death traps from which Mr. Arar could escape just because he was a Canadian citizen.