Federal court overturns Sun Sea passenger’s refugee status; refugee board grants protection to traveller aboard Ocean Lady

Published: January 23, 2013

ADRIAN HUMPHREYS 
POSTMEDIA NEWS

The MV Sun Sea is escorted past Fisgard Lighthouse and into CFB Esquimalt in Colwood, B.C., in this Aug. 13, 2010 file photo. The seeming disconnect between recent rulings in two separate cases highlights the difficulty in handling the many passengers found aboard the two boatloads of Tamils – one group on the MV Sun Sea and the other on the MV Ocean Lady – fleeing the conflict in Sri Lanka when they arrived in Canadian waters. Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

The Federal Court of Canada has overturned the refugee status granted a passenger aboard a smuggling ship linked to Tamil rebels, just as the refugee board extended protection on the same grounds to a Tamil passenger of a second smuggling ship, highlighting the difficulty in handling the two highly publicized mass arrivals.

The overturned decision involves one of 492 Sri Lankan Tamil migrants who arrived aboard the MV Sun Sea in 2010; the newly granted asylum decision involves one of the 76 aboard the MV Ocean Lady in 2009.

In both, the men had been accepted as refugees under claims that publicity connecting the ships to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam placed all passengers at risk in their homeland by mere association. The court’s rejection of the claim could impact other cases still pending.

In the Sun Sea case, the IRB had accepted the 26-year-old Tamil man as a refugee even though he was not believed to be involved with the LTTE; just being on the ship could lead to persecution, the board said.

The government appealed the decision to the Federal Court and Justice Paul Crampton accepted its objection.

“A group of people who have decided to travel to Canada on a particular ship,” is not “fundamental to a person’s basic humanity,” wrote Justice Crampton, and did not qualify as what are called “refugees sur place,” meaning those not refugees when they leave their homeland but become refugees through the circumstance of their case.

The claimant’s testimony, that he had previously been questioned by Sri Lankan officials about possible links to the LTTE and released, is evidence that the government knows he is not a hardcore member of the LTTE, the judge said.

His case was sent back to the IRB for a fresh hearing.

Justice Crampton made his decision Nov. 19 but it only disseminated publicly on Monday. The outcome contrasts with another IRB decision made Oct. 16 but released only last week.

The second case involves a 24-yearold Tamil who arrived aboard the MV Ocean Lady, which officials identified as a rebel arms smuggling ship.

IRB adjudicator Trudy Shecter accepted him as a refugee on the same grounds that Justice Crampton rejected.

“If he were to return to Sri Lanka, he is afraid that the government would know or quickly learn, possibly from the Canadian government, that he travelled on the Ocean Lady and he would be subject to torture, death, and having his body thrown into the river,” her decision says.

She found no evidence he was involved with the LTTE.

“I find, however, that the claimant’s profile changed when he chose to board the Ocean Lady, a ship that has been suspected of carrying LTTE members into Canada,” she wrote.

The government is reviewing the IRB’s decision, said Alexis Pavlich, spokeswoman for Jason Kenney, Minister for Citizenship and Immigration.

The seeming disconnect between the two cases highlights the difficulty in handling the many passengers found aboard the two boatloads of Tamils fleeing the conflict in Sri Lanka when they arrived in Canadian waters.

The Sun Sea arrived Aug. 13, 2010, carrying 380 men, 63 adult women and 49 children. As of last week, 50 have been accepted as refugees, 63 have had their claims rejected and 23 claims were withdrawn.

Deportation orders have been issued against 25; another 16 had admissibility hearings but were not ordered deported, with three non-deportation cases under appeal by the government.

Of the 25 people ordered deported, 14 were members of the ship’s crew and involved in people smuggling, according to the IRB.

Eleven were found to be members of a terrorist organization; two of those were also found to have committed war crimes. One man remains in immigration detention.

The Ocean Lady carried 76 males, one a minor, when it arrived Oct. 17, 2009. As of last week, 15 had been accepted as refugees and 15 have had their claims rejected. One claim was withdrawn. Three have been issued deportation orders.

Some on each ship also face criminal charges in B.C. for human smuggling – four from the Ocean Lady and six from the Sun Sea.

- With files from Stewart Bell

 

Tags: , , ,





Featured

Surrey

Surrey RCMP continue hunt for hit-and-run driver who struck a Sikh temple volunteer

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW SURREY —  Surrey Mounties are still looking for the driver who ran down a Sikh temple volunteer in Newton last fall….
Continue Reading »

Merritt music festival

Headdresses banned from Merritt music festival out of respect to First Nations

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI An electronic music festival this B.C. Day long weekend in Merritt has banned native headdresses from its campgrounds. “Bass Coast Festival…
Continue Reading »

luxury brand market Vancouver

Asian tourists important for Vancouver’s high-end luxury retailers

SUSAN LAZARUK VANCOUVER DESI If you ever wandered by a high-end luxury retail outlet like Burberry or Tiffany’s and wondered who could afford thousands of…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Surrey

Surrey RCMP continue hunt for hit-and-run driver who struck a Sikh temple volunteer

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW SURREY —  Surrey Mounties are still looking for the driver who ran down a Sikh temple volunteer in Newton last fall….
Continue Reading »

Merritt music festival

Headdresses banned from Merritt music festival out of respect to First Nations

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI An electronic music festival this B.C. Day long weekend in Merritt has banned native headdresses from its campgrounds. “Bass Coast Festival…
Continue Reading »

luxury brand market Vancouver

Asian tourists important for Vancouver’s high-end luxury retailers

SUSAN LAZARUK VANCOUVER DESI If you ever wandered by a high-end luxury retail outlet like Burberry or Tiffany’s and wondered who could afford thousands of…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

india flag2

Sporting fans disappointed as Indian flag depicted upside down in Commonwealth Games promotional video

VANCOUVER DESI India is already making headlines as the Commonwealth Games officially kick off in Glasgow – but not for sporting-related reasons. In an official…
Continue Reading »

INDIA_RAPE_PROTEST_217126232

Angry villagers mob alleged suspects after another girl found hanging from tree in India

KOUSHIK DUTTA HINDUSTAN TIMES A 7-year-old girl was found raped, murdered and hanging from a tree in West Bengal on Thursday, resurfacing horrific memories from…
Continue Reading »

525020624_213567324

Indian baby whose head swelled to three times its size smiling and laughing a year later (w/ photos)

VANCOUVER DESI A three-year-old girl in New Delhi who was given little chance of survival after her head swelled to three times its normal size…
Continue Reading »

An Indian private tutor was caught on CCTV camera brutally beating a child. YouTube screenshot

Private tutor who mercilessly beat child finally arrested in Kolkata

IANS Kolkata  – Private tutor Pooja Singh, who was caught on video brutally thrashing a three-and-a-half-year-old child in Kolkata, was finally arrested Friday, police said….
Continue Reading »

child abuse

Indian kidnappers agree to handover boy to parents on condition of swapping him for his sister

CEN AGENCY In a bizarre demand, parents of an Indian boy who has been kidnapped, were told that they could have youngster back if they…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Mahesh Bhatt

Bollywood filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt fasts during Ramadan as a tribute to his mother

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS  Mumbai – Mahesh Bhatt observes fasts during Ramadan as a tribute to his late mother and says on Eid he looks…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood Bigg Boss

Salman Khan’s charitable organization to help 100 kids with heart condition

IANS Mumbai – Bollywood superstar Salman Khan has announced that his Being Human (BH) charitable organization will help “100 genuine patients” suffering from heart condition…
Continue Reading »

Kareena Kapoor Khan

Kareena Kapoor: “Bajrangi Baijaan” has nothing to do with my personal life

IANS Mumbai – Kareena Kapoor and Salman Khan’s next “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” is about a Brahmin girl and Muslim boy, but the former says that it…
Continue Reading »