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Safe Third Country Agreement With The U.s

Conventions on safe third-country nationals are not explicitly mentioned in the 1951 Refugee Convention or the 1967 Protocol on the Status of Refugees. Rather, their legitimacy derives from Article 31 of the 1951 Convention, which states that a refugee should not be punished for illegal entry into a country if he arrives directly from a country where he is threatened. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has itself warned against over-interpreting safe third country agreements, although it acknowledges that they may be acceptable in certain circumstances. [22] Such ambiguities have prompted some Canadian legal experts to question the legality of the Canada-U.S. safe third country agreement. [23] Agreements with Central American countries tactically shift the U.S. border southward. The RAC continues to call on the Canadian government to withdraw from the safe third country agreement. Shortly after its entry into force, the CCR participated in legal action against the designation of the United States as a safe third country.

The Federal Court of Justice ruled that the United States is not a safe third country, but the decision was overturned on appeal for technical reasons (for more information, click here). Concerns have been raised about the lack of security legislation for refugee protection in the United States. This security problem and argument give refugees legitimate reasons to turn around in Canada to lead a better life. On December 29, 2005, a group of refugee and human rights organizations (in Canada and the United States) launched legal action against the U.S. claim as a safe third country for asylum seekers. This action was supported by prominent figures such as Justice Michael Phelan of the Federal Court of Canada on November 29, 2007 and many others. Stratas` decision does not refer to the original decision of the Federal Court of Justice that the border agreement is unconstitutional. However, it allows the government to wait for the outcome of its appeal before deciding what to do at the border. The government appealed McDonald`s decision and argued that there would be “irreparable harm” to the rule of law and the common good if the border agreement were overturned.

The United States and other countries that are parties to these agreements could violate the legal obligations imposed by domestic and international law. These include the U.S. Refugee Act of 1980 and the United Nations Convention on Refugees, which establishes the principle that refugees should not be forcibly returned to countries where they may be persecuted. The Safe Third Country Agreement applies to refugee claimants who wish to travel to Canada or the United States at Canada-U.S. border crossings (including rail). It also applies to airports where a person seeking protection in Country B has not been identified as a refugee in Country A and is transiting in Country A as part of his removal. Since U.S. President Donald Trump took office in 2017, about 58,000 people have entered Canada through unofficial border crossings from the United States to bypass the agreement and seek asylum.

Ahmed Hussen, speaking as Canada`s Minister of the IRCC, said the terms of the agreement on the security of third-country nationals are still being respected. The ruling Liberal Party of Canada has not indicated any plans or intentions to suspend the agreement. [21] At the last hearing before Stratas J., counsel for this group argued that there would be an “increase” in new asylum seekers at the border, if the agreement is struck down, would be “speculative” and “hypothetical”. Historically, two countries have negotiated “safe third country” agreements to better manage the influx of refugees and asylum applications at their borders.

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