November 02nd, 2012
In a progressive judgement, the Federal Court of Canada has decided that there is an an obligation upon the Refugee Protection Division to specifically discuss why the Applicant, as a homosexual living in a place where it has been demonstrated that homosexuals are harassed, would not be subjected to persecution as she cannot live her sexual orientation openly. Some GLB refugee claims are thrown out because a person cannot prove that they are queer. Here the applicant proved that, and also proved that in her home country queers faced persecution. This is an important case because it says that it is up to the government to show she would be safe returning home, rather than up to her to demonstrate that she would be in danger. C.C.F. v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration),  F.C.J. No. 1346
Ugandan Leatitia Nanziri, slated for deportation because neither the Refugee Division nor Immigration Canada believed she was a lesbian, has been granted a reprieve by the Federal Court which reviewed her case. The court sent her case back for redetermination; that will happen in about six months. Her stay in Canada, with her two Canadian-born children, is not yet assured, but this is a very positive development.
How would YOU prove you are queer?
Immigration Canada denied Leatitia Nanziri's claim for refugee status because they don't believe she is a lesbian. Nanziri fled Uganda when she was outed by her girlfriend's father. Lesbians in Uganda are often stoned to death.
The Refugee Division refused her claim because she was carrying a child when she arrived: a product of having been raped. Then they turned down her claim to stay in Canada on compassionate grounds because she had a second child in Canada, with a man.
Canada doesn't understand that if you live in a repressive country you may hide your sexual orientation; you may have a heterosexual marriage. And just like many Canadian lesbians with a husband and maybe children in their past, Ugandan lesbians may marry...and still be lesbians.
It is deeply distressing that Nanziri will be going back to Uganda to face the possibility of death for being queer, when Canada, a country that styles itself as supportive of queers, has sent her there.
A refugee claimant from Malaysia disclosed first his HIV status, and only later acknowledged he was gay. The Senior Immigration Officer (SIO) concluded that Ng was not protected as a refugee because he could get HIV medicine for free without charge; and though there was stigma against gay and HIV+ people in Malaysia, that same was true in Canada.
On judicial review (a kind of appeal) of that decision, the court said that the SIO was wrong because the particular kind of medicine that Mr. Ng required was not available for free; and because it was improper to compare the homophobia in Malaysia to that in Canada as the SIO had done. The case was sent back to be heard by a different SIO. Ng v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration),  F.C.J. No. 598, the Federal Court of Appeal