Liberals drop refugee ‘safe’ country appeal

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Ottawa, January 8 (CINEWS): Soon after coming to power, the Liberals announced it was restoring full health care to all refugees leading many healthcare professionals to heave a sigh of relief.
The latest decision by the Liberal government not to fight to preserve Conservative government rule changes that made it impossible for some rejected refugee claimants to pursue appeals has made refugee lawyers really happy.
A Federal Court ruled in July that it was unconstitutional for the Conservatives to strip the right of appeal for refugee applicants from a list of countries the government deemed to be “safe.”
The former Harper government began a legal appeal of that judgment, but lost power in the October election. The courts repeatedly found Conservative laws to be in breach of the charter.
Diane Laursen, a spokeswoman for Immigration Minister John McCallum, says the government has withdrawn the legal appeal in the refugee case, which was brought by the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers on behalf of rejected refugees from Croatia, Hungary and Romania.
The Conservatives brought in a list of Designated Countries of Origin to weed out refugee claimants — countries that were deemed to have proper courts, human rights and rule of law and were thus less likely to produce genuine refugees.
The Liberals have said they will amend the rules.
Federal Court Justice Keith Boswell ruled last July that the “safe” country policy was discriminatory, because it denied an appeal process to refugee claimants from the designated countries that was available to all other refugee applicants.
“It also serves to further marginalize, prejudice and stereotype refugee claimants from DCO countries which are generally considered safe and ‘non-refugee producing,'” said the Federal Court judgment.

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