Jenny in the House: Can the US still be called a safe country?

On November 20, 2018, Jenny rose and asked this question:

Jenny Kwan (NDP) Vancouver East, BC

"Mr. Speaker, when I rose in June to ask the Prime Minister if he still believed the United States was a safe country, the international community was still in shock at the Trump administration's blatant disregard for international refugee and human rights law by forcefully separating migrant children from their families as a deterrent to claiming asylum, and just announced that it would no longer accept asylum claims made on the basis of gender-based violence or gang or drug cartel violence. Sadly, the Prime Minister did not seem to care.

We know that there are now over 14,000 migrant children being held in detention facilities in the U.S. Tent cities have been erected. The President sent the military to the U.S.-Mexico border and suggested that the U.S. military should treat having a rock thrown at them the same way they would treat being shot at. Let us be clear: he was suggesting that the U.S. military should open fire on asylum seekers.

We are now learning that the U.S. is actively engaged not just in U.S. legislation, but in amending international agreements to define transgendered people out of existence. At both the UN and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it appears the Trump administration is attempting to narrowly define human rights protections so that it would not apply to transgendered people. This is beyond troubling, and it cannot go unchallenged.

The goals of these policies are clear, to de-legitimize and dehumanize asylum seekers to deter them from attempting to find safety in the U.S. This abdication of international responsibility is as morally bankrupt as it is illegal under international laws, and yet the Prime Minister sits idly by, doing nothing, claiming the U.S. is still a safe country for asylum seekers. How is that possible?

We need to hold the United States accountable for what it is doing. Donald Trump is attempting to shut down the U.S. border to Central American asylum seekers by disqualifying the reasons they are in need of protection. A 2017 report by Doctors Without Borders found that of asylum seekers from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, 39% cited direct attacks, threats, extortion, or forced gang recruitment involving themselves or their families as the reason they fled. Forty-three per cent had a relative who had died due to violence in the last two years.

ln 2017, Amnesty International also released a report outlining significant risk in the northern triangle region of Central America that LGBTQI individuals face. The report states, “Despite the difficulty in obtaining accurate figures from the countries' governments, there is evidence that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex people (LGBTI) are particularly exposed to violence...and that this is related intrinsically to the multiple forms of discrimination LGBTI people face”, yet the U.S. is moving to prevent all of these individuals from even having access to a fair hearing of their asylum claim.

By continuing to defend the safe third country agreement, the Prime Minister is not just remaining silent to these disturbing policies, he is actively supporting them by claiming the U.S. remains a safe country for asylum seekers. How can this be justified?"

 

https://openparliament.ca/debates/2018/11/20/jenny-kwan-4/

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