19 asylum seekers brave winter storm to reach Canada

Refugees, including children, rescued in sub zero temperatures

19 asylum seekers brave winter storm to reach Canada

World Bulletin / News Desk

Braving some of the harshest weather of the winter, 17 asylum seekers illegally crossed into the Canadian province of Manitoba early Wednesday and had to be rescued by Canadian officials.

The refugees fleeing the U.S. did so in the teeth of a fierce winter storm, with blowing snow and temperatures of -28 C (-18 F) with a wind chill factored in, CTV television news reported.

They were attempting to cross into the small border town of Emerson, a sanctuary that has seen hundreds flood the town.

They included children and a pregnant woman and one sustained a broken arm, but all were rescued by Emerson officials and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police after an intense search, said Emerson’s reeve, who is similar to a mayor.

Greg Janzen said he was not sure how long the refugees spent in the frigid weather but told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) he suspected they had been there for some time.

“This is really getting dangerous for these people,” Janzen said.

The asylum seekers, fleeing the U.S. because the fear of President Donald Trump’s crackdown on immigration and travel bans on six Muslim-majority countries, are turning to Canada in increasing numbers, crossing at various border points in the provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec.

Once in Canada, refugees can be granted asylum if “outside his or her home country and have a well-founded fear of persecution,” the Canadian immigration law firm of Campbell Cohen said on its website. “According to the Geneva Convention, the fear must not only be well-founded, the persecution must also be based on reasons of race, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”

Asylum seekers can also apply for refugee status if they cross somewhere other than an official border station, such as the farmers’ fields that surround Emerson.

The 17 people, along with two others who crossed into Emerson on Tuesday night, were transported to a Canadian Border Services Agency for processing, CTV reported.

A lawyer with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees visited Manitoba, March 2, and two officials from Amnesty International also were recently in the province out of concern for asylum seekers.

“What was concerning to us is the vastness of the territory and the fact that people are taking greater risks to cross the border,” UN lawyer Azadeh Tamjeedi told the CBC.

The UN will continue to monitor the situation, she said.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Mart 2017, 22:58