Amnesty International joins others here today in welcoming Vanessa Rodel and her daughter to Canada as refugees resettled through private sponsorship. It is a happy end to a search for safety that began when Ms. Rodel fled from the Philippines in 2002; and took an entirely unexpected turn in 2013 when, along with five other asylum seekers in Hong Kong, including two children, she was drawn into the effort to provide support and shelter to Edward Snowden. Mr. Snowden was, of course, being actively sought by US authorities for having publicly leaked documents showing the massive extent of US surveillance practices.
Ms. Rodel, her daughter and the other five individuals have been at risk in Hong Kong ever since that time. Joining with Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International approached the Canadian government nearly two years ago, in May 2017, urging that private sponsorship applications that been filed for their resettlement to Canada as refugees be approved.