In an Open Letter to Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Amnesty International’s Canadian and US Sections, representing close to 2 million people in the two countries, have today called on the Canadian government immediately and urgently to rescind designation of the United States as a “safe third country” for the purposes of refugee determination.
The designation, pursuant to an agreement reached between the two countries in 2002, took effect in December 2004. Its effect is to deny access to the Canadian refugee determination system for most refugee claimants who pass through the United States before continuing to Canada. They are instead required to make their claims for protection in the United States. The designation of the United States as a “safe third country” had been overturned by a Federal Court judge in 2007, but that was reversed on procedural grounds by the Federal Court of Appeal in 2008.