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"TORONTO WELCOMES TAMIL MIGRANTS"

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Toronto - No One Is Illegal–Toronto joins the Canada wide call for actions on 21 August, 2010 to demand that the Tamil migrants that have arrived on the MV Sun Sea be immediately released from detention, that their rights as migrants be upheld and they be granted permanent status and that the racist criminalization of refugee claimants immediately cease.

A 40 feet x 6 feet banner was dropped over the Gardiner Expressway near Roncesvalles. See images at http://twitpic.com/2gv29m and http://twitpic.com/2gv304

Rallies are taking place in Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, Victoria, Kitchener-Waterloo and unsurrendered Wet’suwet’en Territories throughout the week. Details for these actions can be found here http://noii-van.resist.ca/?p=2198

“Kenney and Toews are using words like terrorists and human traffickers with absolutely no evidence” says Ryan Hayes of No One Is Illegal –Toronto. “They did the same thing when the refugee claimants arrived in October 2009, but had to accept that there was no truth to their assertions”.

No evidence has been provided to substantiate the claim of ‘terrorist’ or ‘human smugglers’. Rohan Gunaratna, the government’s primary source, has already been discredited by lawyers as well as an Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicator for being un-credible. Last October, when the 76 Tamil asylum-seekers came on Ocean Lady they were similarly labeled as terrorists and security threats. However by Jan 2010, they were all released from detention when Canadian Border Services Agency admitted they had no evidence of a terrorist connection.

“By using terms like ‘queue-jumpers’, Canadian officials are misleading people in to thinking that it is illegal to come to Canada on a ship – it isn’t”, says Abeer Majeed of No One Is Illegal – Toronto.

According to the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees, to which Canada is aparty, there are no penalties on refugees who arrive without re-authorization and irregularly.

Dozens of other community groups have also expressed their public support for the detained Tamil asylum seekers. According to the South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy “We condemn the Government of Canada’s hypocritical use of the discourse of human rights and its current racist fear-mongering against Tamil refugees. We demand fair and humane treatment for the refugees who have come on the Sun Sea and all people who seek Canada as a refuge to rebuild their lives following the cynical and brutal abuse of human rights by their governments and/or the devastations of war.”

Similarly, the Canadian Peace Alliance, Canada’s largest peace network, urges the government of Canada to respect the human rights of the Tamil refugees arriving in British Colombia. A variety of statements can be found here: http://noii-van.resist.ca/?p=2224

No One Is Illegal - Vancouver has released a factsheet of Myths and realities about the 490 Tamil asylum seekers aboard MV Sun Sea, encouraging people to educate themselves rather than rely solely on sensationalist sound-bites. This factsheet is available here: http://noii-van.resist.ca/?p=2167.

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For more information, contact

Mohan Mishra, Media Liaison
No One Is Illegal – Toronto
nooneisillegal@riseup.net | 416.270.8947 | www.twitter.com/noii_to